Trump seeks halt to D.C. criminal case

    WORLD  08 December 2023 - 16:37

    Donald Trump is demanding that a judge halt all proceedings in the federal criminal case charging him with trying to subvert the 2020 presidential election.

    Trump contends that U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan no longer has power over the case while he appeals her ruling that Trump is not immune from the charges he’s facing — a process that could take weeks or months. In the meantime, he says, Chutkan must postpone all deadlines and cede her authority over the matter, Politico reports.

    Citing “political costs to President Trump and this country” if the case were to move forward, Trump’s lawyers argued on December 7 that he’s entitled to an “automatic stay” while he appeals Chutkan’s ruling last week.

    If Chutkan accedes to the demand, it could jeopardize her plan to begin the trial of the former president on March 4 at a Washington courthouse just blocks from the Capitol his supporters attacked on Jan. 6, 2021.

    Trump is appealing Chutkan’s order denying his claim that he enjoys immunity from prosecution on the election-related charges by virtue of the fact he was serving as president at the time. The order also turned down his argument that he can’t be prosecuted because he was impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate for his conduct related to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

    “The filing of President Trump’s notice of appeal has deprived this Court of jurisdiction over this case in its entirety pending resolution of the appeal,” Trump attorneys Todd Blanche and John Lauro wrote. “Therefore, a stay of all further proceedings is mandatory and automatic.”

    Trump’s attorneys indicated that even if Chutkan doesn’t grant the stay, they plan to ask the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to do so and intend to operate as if there is one in place. That could be consequential in a case that is expected to be just three months away from trial. Prospective jurors have already begun receiving initial notices from the courthouse.

    The lawyers said that unless Chutkan rules otherwise, they plan to ignore upcoming deadlines in the case regarding pretrial motions, exchanges of information with prosecutors and designation of expert witnesses.

    Trump’s legal team said in its 11-page filing that prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s office have indicated they plan to oppose the stay.

    Trump’s lawyers noted that prosecutors have acknowledged that Trump can’t be forced to go to trial in the case while an immunity appeal is pending. But according to Trump’s lawyers, the prosecutors appeared to seek to leave the door open to pretrial proceedings such as motions, hearings and trial planning in the coming months.

    Trump’s attorneys rejected that approach, arguing that the former president is entitled to avoid “the burdens of litigation” while his appeal goes forward, including the impact on his ongoing campaign for reelection to the presidency.

    “Concerns regarding judicial resources and costs from continued litigation during the pendency of the appeal — including financial, reputational, and political costs to President Trump and this country — are significant,” Blanche and Lauro wrote.

    A spokesperson for Smith’s office declined to comment on December 7.

    Caliber.Az

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