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A federal appeals panel ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump can face trial on charges that he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, sharply rejecting the former president’s claims that he is immune from prosecution while setting the stage for additional challenges that could further delay the case.

The ruling is significant not only for its stark repudiation of Trump’s novel immunity claims but also because it breathes life back into a landmark prosecution that had been effectively frozen for weeks as the court considered the appeal.

Yet the one-month gap between when the court heard arguments and issued its ruling has already created uncertainty about the timing of a trial in a calendar-jammed election year, with the judge overseeing the case last week canceling the initial March 4 date.

Trump’s team vowed to appeal, which could postpones the case by weeks or months — particularly if the Supreme Court agrees to take it up. The judges gave Trump a week to ask the Supreme Court to get involved.

The eventual trial date carries enormous political ramifications, with special counsel Jack Smith’s team hoping to prosecute Trump this year and the Republican front-runner seeking to delay it until after the November election. If Trump were to defeat President Joe Biden, he could presumably try to use his position as head of the executive branch to order a new attorney general to dismiss the federal cases he faces or potentially could seek a pardon for himself.

Tuesday’s unanimous ruling is the second time since December that judges have held that Trump can be prosecuted for actions undertaken while in the White House and in the run-up to Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. The opinion, which had been expected given the skepticism with which the panel greeted the Trump team’s arguments, was unsparing in its repudiation of Trump’s claim that former presidents enjoy absolute immunity for acts that fall within their official job duties.

“Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that, as to the President, the Congress could not legislate, the Executive could not prosecute and the Judiciary could not review. We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter,” the judges wrote.

They said the “interest in criminal accountability, held by both the public and the Executive Branch, outweighs the potential risks of chilling Presidential action and permitting vexatious litigation,” and they rejected Trump’s claim that a president could have “unbounded authority to commit crimes” that would prevent the recognition of election results.

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