WASHINGTON — Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to expedite a ruling on former President Donald Trump’s presidential immunity claims in the US Supreme Court case. 2020 election interference.
Smith asked the justices to rule on a case that would normally first go to a lower federal appeals court, arguing that another level of appellate action would likely mean the Supreme Court would not hear the case. case before his term begins in fall 2024, thereby delaying the trial. trial even further.
Such a delay would push a Supreme Court decision into the heat of the general election, when Trump is once again the Republican nominee for president.
A definitive response from the Supreme Court would allow the trial scheduled for March 4, 2024, to continue as planned, Smith said.
“The United States recognizes that this is an extraordinary request,” Smith wrote. “This is an extraordinary case.”
On Monday evening, the Supreme Court said the justices would consider prosecutors’ request and request Trump must respond by December 20.
In a statement from the Trump campaign, an anonymous spokesperson reiterated Trump’s position that the prosecution was politically motivated.
“Crooked Joe Biden’s henchman, Deranged Jack Smith, is so obsessed with interfering in the 2024 presidential election in an effort to prevent President Trump from taking back the Oval Office, as the president prepares to do so, that Smith is willing to attempt a Hail Mary. by running to the Supreme Court and attempting to circumvent the appeal process,” the spokesperson said.
District court decision
The case, one of four criminal proceedings the former president faces as he campaigns for another term in the White House, involves allegations that he sought to illegally overturn his re-election defeat in 2020.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan denied Trump’s motion to dismiss the case relies on the argument that as a former president he is protected from criminal prosecution and that he was already acquitted by the U.S. Senate in an impeachment trial .
Asset appeals this ruling last week in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, an intermediate venue between the district court and the Supreme Court, and asked the trial court to suspend the debates while the call is in progress.
Trump’s legal team filed a movement to dismiss the case on the basis of presidential immunity.
The scheduling situation is similar to what the courts faced as President Richard Nixon’s 1974 trial date approached on charges related to the Watergate scandal, Smith said Monday. In that case, the Supreme Court accepted the prosecutors’ argument and expedited the appeal, he wrote, adding that the high court should issue a similar ruling for Trump.
“It is of paramount public importance that the defendant’s claims for immunity be resolved as expeditiously as possible – and, if the defendant is not immune, that he or she receives a fair and speedy trial on these charges.” , Smith wrote. “The public, the defendant and the government are entitled to nothing less.”
Prosecutors also asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday to expedite Trump’s appeal to that court if the Supreme Court declines to rule on the issue.
Election interference and other criminal charges
A federal grand jury indicted Trump in August on four counts for his alleged role in knowingly attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election through a series of illegal actions and false statements that culminated in the January 6, 2021 attack against the US Capitol.
The charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia included conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstructing and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.
The 45 pages charge details false claims Trump and his anonymous co-conspirators made about election results in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as the fake voter scheme that the group designed for these states.
The indictment also details Trump’s pressure campaign on former Vice President Mike Pence to “enlist” him to overturn the election results.
Trump faces four criminal cases as well as civil proceedings over his business dealings in New York state as he leads in several polls ahead of the 2024 Republican presidential primary season. Less than five weeks away holding the first GOP presidential caucus in Iowa, according to a Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom poll. released Monday found that Trump is the first choice of 51% of caucus-goers surveyed.
In addition to federal election fraud charges in Washington, D.C. scheduled for trial in March, Trump faces another potential criminal trial in March in New York state for alleged hush money payments to an adult film star.
The former president also faces a federal criminal trial in Florida in May for criminal charges alleging that he removed classified documents from the White House late in his presidency and improperly stored them at Mar-a-Lago, his South Florida property.
No trial date set for Georgian charge alleging that Trump and several co-defendants engaged in racketeering and criminal organization to interfere with the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Monday.