The federal judge overseeing the trial related to former President Donald Trump’s alleged election interference on January 6, 2021, has temporarily halted the proceedings as an appeal seeking to dismiss the case is pursued.
Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that it “automatically stays any further proceedings that would move this case towards trial or impose additional burdens of litigation on Defendant.”
The Hill reported: “Trump last week appealed an order from Chutkan that rejected his motion to dismiss the Jan. 6 case, likewise asking that she halt activity in the case while his appeal proceeds. The move comes as Trump has argued the courts should dismiss the case both on the concept of presidential immunity, as well as on constitutional grounds, including the First Amendment.”
“If jurisdiction is returned to this court, it will—consistent with its duty to ensure both a speedy trial and fairness for all parties—consider at that time whether to retain or continue the dates of any still-future deadlines and proceedings, including the trial scheduled for March 4, 2024,” wrote Chutkan in her order.
Trump’s appeal has the potential to impact the current trial start date of March 4, scheduled just before the Super Tuesday primaries. Federal prosecutors contend that Trump is seeking to delay the trial, possibly beyond the November 2024 election, a right he legally possesses. Concurrently, special counsel Jack Smith submitted his own filing to the U.S. Supreme Court this week, and the justices have agreed to review the case.
Judge Chutkan just put a hold on further proceedings in the federal case against Trump. Smith has worked doggedly to keep the trial scheduled for just before Super Tuesday. This could endanger that date and make it more difficult to try Trump before the election…
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) December 13, 2023
According to Politico, “The case, arising from the prosecution of a Jan. 6 defendant accused of pushing against police and inflaming a mob attempting to breach the Capitol, calls into question prosecutors’ handling of an Enron-era obstruction law to punish those who stormed Congress.”
The charge in question is “obstruction of an official proceeding,” one of the felony counts in Trump’s ‘election interference’ case, filed by Smith, carrying a potential prison sentence of 20 years.
On Tuesday, Trump’s legal team accused Smith of “election interference” following the filing of the motion with the Supreme Court.
Smith initiated the motion on Monday, seeking a swift resolution from the nation’s highest court, asking the justices to determine whether Trump holds immunity from prosecution.
Trump’s 2024 re-election campaign strongly criticized Smith and President Joe Biden, both vying for a second term, for their efforts to maintain the March 4 trial date, just before the Super Tuesday primaries. The Supreme Court promptly agreed to review Smith’s petition, granting Trump until December 20 to submit a response.
“Crooked Joe Biden’s henchman, Deranged Jack Smith, is so obsessed with interfering in the 2024 Presidential Election to prevent President Trump from retaking the Oval Office, as the President is poised to do, that Smith is willing to try for a Hail Mary by racing to the Supreme Court and attempting to bypass the appellate process,” a Trump spokesperson said of the filing.
The statement mentioned Smith’s supervision of the Department of Justice’s public integrity unit, which successfully obtained a bribery and extortion conviction against former Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell in a gift case. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2016 with an 8-0 decision.
“Deranged may need to be reminded that the Supreme Court has not been kind to him, including by handing down a rare unanimous rebuke when the Court overturned him 8-0 in the McDonnell case,” the spokesperson added.