Judge Pauses Trump 2020 Election Case While Supreme Court Decides Immunity Defense

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Dec 13, 2023 - 08:50 PM

Update (1610ET): As expected (more or less), the judge in the 2020 election interference case, Tanya Chutkan, has paused the case until the Supreme Court decides on whether Trump is immune.

Chutkan's decision "automatically stays any further proceedings that would move this case towards trial or impose additional burdens of litigation on Defendant."

She also acknowledged that while the election is nearly a year away, it's unclear how long the USSC appeals process could take, and that she may ultimately need to delay the trial.

"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," she said.

Last Friday Chutkan rejected Trump's argument that he's immune from prosecution for actions taken while he was a sitting president.

"Whatever immunities a sitting President may enjoy, the United States has only one Chief Executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass, Former Presidents enjoy no special conditions on their federal criminal liability," she wrote.

Now to see if the Supreme Court agrees.

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Update (2000ET): That didn't take long...

After petitioning the US Supreme Court to weigh in on former President Trump's federal 2020 election case - specifically Trump's presidential immunity defense, Special Counsel Jack Smith had his answer by end-of-day, after the Supreme Court granted his request to "expedite consideration of the petition."

Attorney Steve Vladeck called the response "lightning-fast by the Supreme Court's standards."

Vladeck further clarified that "this is *not* the Court agreeing to take up the case now. It is just the Court agreeing to move *very* quickly in deciding *whether* to take up the case at this juncture (i.e., before the court of appeals)."

The Court gave Trump's team until Dec. 20th to respond.

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Special Counsel Jack Smith has asked the Supreme Court to immediately weigh in on former President Trump's federal 2020 election case.

In a Monday filing, Smith asked the justices to weigh in on Trump's immunity defense, by which Trump has cited presidential immunity to try and have the case tossed. The former president is accused of entering multiple criminal conspiracies to change the results of the 2020 US election.

The move comes after Trump appealed an appeals court judge's rejection of that argument.

As The Reactionary notes;

The setting of Trump’s DC trial for the spring of 2024 – conveniently scheduled one day before the Super Tuesday primaries – was undoubtedly the result of a shared interest between the Special Counsel and the presiding judge, Tanya Chutkan: to convict Donald Trump before the 2024 election. Moreover, given the 11+ million pages of documents involved in this case, the hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of video and audio, and the hundreds of witnesses, the accelerated trial date was a violation of Trump’s Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel, which includes the opportunity to prepare for trial.

The Special Counsel’s DC case against Trump comprises novel legal theories that have never been tried in American courts, most notably whether Presidential challenges to an election can be criminalized under the United States code. The attorneys for Trump have filed lengthy and well thought-out motions, reasoning that the Constitution and the doctrine of presidential immunity required dismissal of this criminal case. Judge Chutkan denied each one in her desire for a quick trial.

In the Monday filing, Smith cited Trump's fast-approaching March 4 trial date.

"It is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected," reads the filing.

Smith has also requested that the Supreme Court expedite its decision on whether it will take up the issue, period. If they do, he wants them to prioritize it over all other cases.

"This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin," reads the filing.

In his Supreme Court brief, Mr. Smith conceded that the trial would most likely have to be paused because of the appeal of the immunity issue. That position reversed the one his prosecutors took over the weekend in court papers, in which they argued that Judge Chutkan should not have to stay the case pending appeal.

Winning the appeal of the immunity decision was only one of Mr. Trump’s goals in challenging the decision. All along, he and his lawyers have had an alterative strategy: to delay the election interference trial for as long as possible. -NY Times

The filing comes after Judge Tanya S. Chutkan - who worked at the law firm which repped Fusion GPS, the company that helped orchestrate the Russia collusion hoax - rejected Trump's sweeping claims of "absolute immunity" from an election interference indictment because it was based on actions taken while in office.

In her ruling, Chukan condemned attempts to "usurp the reins of government," and said that nothing in the Constitution or US history supports the notion that a former president is immune.

As the Times further suggests, "If the trial were to be put off until after the 2024 election and Mr. Trump were to win, he could have his attorney general simply dismiss the charges. Holding a trial after the presidential race would also mean that voters would never hear any of the evidence that prosecutors have collected about Mr. Trump’s expansive efforts to reverse the results of the last election before weighing in on whether to re-elect him."