February 3, 2024

Judge Tanya Chutkan indefinitely postpones Trump trial scheduled for March

As a crucial legal appeal from the ex-president is still pending resolution, a federal judge in Washington has rescheduled the planned March trial on allegations of attempting to overturn the 2020 election results

The case was initiated by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, and U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has just the trial's scheduled start date of March 4. However, she did not immediately establish a new date, as The Associated Press reported.

This allows a separate case in New York to move forward, one which charges Trump with hush money payments to a porn star.

Due to the less serious nature of that alleged malfeasance compared to charges of mishandling secret documents or trying to undermine an election for president, that case is considered one of the weaker of the four prosecutions that Trump faces.

Undecided Details

A federal appeals court has not yet decided on Trump's pending appeal in the election interference case, in which he claims immunity from prosecution for activities taken while in office.

Although the exact timing of the three-judge panel's decision on that question is uncertain, Trump's team is certain to appeal any decision that allows the lawsuit to proceed, which could further postpone the trial's commencement.

With a commanding lead in the Republican presidential nomination contest for 2024, Trump is attempting to delay the progress of his criminal proceedings, which include four indictments and 91 total felony counts.

Smith's Plan

On the other hand, Smith's team is keeping its fingers crossed that it can secure convictions against Trump before the November election.

It is reasonable to assume that Trump, if elected while the case is ongoing, would instruct the Justice Department to dismiss the matter altogether.

Trial in the federal case in D.C. case was supposed to be the first of the four to proceed, but Trump's aforementioned appeal, in which he claims immunity from prosecution, has forced the delay.

In a Jan. 9 hearing on the merits of the arguments, the appeals court showed signs of skepticism of Trump's position. Despite the court's stated intention to move swiftly, a ruling has still not been announced.

As the trial date approached, the judge in the New York state hush money case, the first of four indictments filed against Trump last year, has resisted defense requests to postpone the March 25 start date due to the conflicting trial date in Washington, correctly assuming the former president's legal calendar would change.

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