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US Supreme Court delays Trump trial

The court shot down a request by prosecutor Jack Smith to rule on whether the case can go ahead

The US Supreme Court declined on Friday to hear a case on whether former President Donald Trump is immune from prosecution for a speech he gave before the January 6, 2021 riot on Capitol Hill. The decision will delay the start of Trump’s trial, potentially until after next year’s election.

Special Counsel Jack Smith charged Trump in August with conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights, arguing that Trump’s speech – in which he urged his supporters to “fight like hell” against President Joe Biden’s electoral victory – provoked the Capitol riot. Trump’s lawyers argue that such speeches were part of “his official responsibilities as president,” and that he is therefore immune from legal consequences.

Trump’s trial judge rejected this argument, Trump’s lawyers appealed this rejection, and Smith urged the Supreme Court to bypass the appeals court and deliver a verdict so that the trial could begin on March 4 as planned.

The court shot down Smith’s request on Friday. “The petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment is denied,” its justices wrote in a one-line, unsigned order. 

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The case will now be heard by a Washington DC appeals court in January, and will likely be brought before the Supreme Court by the losing party, a process that will almost certainly drag out beyond March 4 and well into election season. Throughout this time, Trump’s criminal trial will be paused, as the issue of immunity determines whether the former president and 2024 candidate can even be tried in the first place.

As well as leading the January 6 case, Smith is also overseeing the prosecution of Trump over his alleged mishandling of classified documents, a case that will be heard at a district court in Florida. Trump has sought to delay the documents trial until after the 2024 election, while Smith has lobbied for “a speedy trial.”

In his petition to the Supreme Court, Smith acknowledged that he was making “an extraordinary request,” adding that “this is an extraordinary case.” Trump’s lawyers accused the prosecutor of trying to tie the former president up in “a monthslong criminal trial at the height of a presidential campaign where he is the leading candidate and the only serious opponent of the current administration.” 

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Trump himself has dismissed Smith’s case as a “pathetic attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their weaponized Department of Justice to interfere with the 2024 Presidential Election.”

With less than a year to go until the 2024 election, Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, and leads Biden in most polls. However, left-wing activists in more than a dozen states have filed lawsuits attempting to remove Trump from ballots under a Civil War-era Constitutional clause forbidding “insurrectionists” from holding office. One state, Colorado, has barred Trump from appearing on ballots, a long-shot ruling that Trump’s legal team has vowed to appeal.

December 23, 2023 at 02:25AM
RT

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