Dec 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Federal prosecutors urge judge to keep March 4 trial in Trump election case

This combination of pictures created on August 5, 2023 shows special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2023 and former US President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 8, 2022.

Combination images of special counsel Jack Smith and former President Trump. Photo: Saul Loeb,Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

Prosecutors urged a judge in former President Trump's 2020 election interference federal case on Sunday to deny his request to pause proceedings while he appeals her ruling rejecting that he has presidential immunity.

Why it matters: Appeal proceedings could delay Trump's trial, which is due to begin the day before Super Tuesday, and its outcome could impact this and the other three criminal cases that the 2024 Republican presidential primary front-runner faces.

Driving the news: "During the pendency of the appeal, any number of matters could arise in this case that are not involved in the appeal; the Court should not enter an order preventing it from handling them," wrote the prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith's team in the court filing seeking to keep the trial start date on March 4.

  • "[I]n light of the public's strong interest in a prompt trial, the Government will seek to ensure that trial proceeds as scheduled," added senior assistant special counsels Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom in the filing to D.C.-based U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.

Of note: Lawyers for Trump, who has pleaded not guilty in all four of his criminal cases, have argued that he should "not be required to endure 'the burdens of litigation'" as president and while his appeal is pending.

  • Gaston and Windom wrote in their Sunday filing: "The Government will continue to shoulder its own burden" by meeting every pretrial deadline, "and more." This would include, "depending on the length of the appellate process, the Government's exhibit list" and any motions before the trial begins.
  • "Any filings the Government makes according to this Court's schedule while the appeal is pending can then be promptly litigated if the Court's order is affirmed and the mandate is returned."

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