A federal appeals court ruled that former President Donald Trump is not immune from criminal charges for actions he committed while he was president. This means Trump can be prosecuted on charges relating to the 2020 election interference case brought against him by special counsel Jack Smith.

“We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a president has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power – the recognition and implementation of election results,” the three-judge panel, which includes two Democrat-appointed judges and one Republican-appointed judge, wrote.

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution,” the judges added.

The panel further wrote that “Instead of inhibiting the President’s lawful discretionary action, the prospect of federal criminal liability might serve as a structural benefit to deter possible abuses of power and criminal behavior.”

Trump reportedly has until Feb. 12 to file an appeal in the ruling, which is a setback for him amid his recent wins in his efforts to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee and win the 2024 presidential election. His campaign has already promised to take the situation before the U.S. Supreme Court, where Republicans have a 6-3 majority.

“If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party. Without complete immunity, a President of the United States would not be able to properly function!” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said after the ruling.

“Prosecuting a President for official acts violates the Constitution and threatens the bedrock of our Republic. President Trump respectfully disagrees with the DC Circuit’s decision and will appeal it in order to safeguard the Presidency and the Constitution,” he added.

Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. also kicked against the judges’ decision in a tweet to X, in which he called the ruling “partisan hackery.”

“If POTUS doesn’t have immunity they’ll be incapable of action for fear of future partisan reprisal. That endangers the United States and sets a terrible precedent. If this becomes the norm would a Trump DOJ prosecute Obama for droning an American? If not why not?” he argued.

The ruling is a win for Smith. But if the Supreme Court takes the case, things might not go his way anymore regarding the timing of the trial, as he hopes the trial will not be moved forward past the November election due to fear that Trump could pardon himself if he ends up being elected as president.