Updated Dec 13, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Judge agrees to pause Trump's Jan. 6 case while appeal plays out

Former President Donald Trump on Dec. 7 in New York City. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

A federal judge on Wednesday agreed to pause proceedings in former President Trump's 2020 election subversion case while he appeals a decision rejecting his claims of immunity.

Driving the news: The court agrees with both parties that Trump's appeal automatically stays any further proceedings that would move the case toward trial, Judge Tanya Chutkan wrote in an order Wednesday.

  • Chutkan said that Trump's filing of a notice of appeal grants the higher court jurisdiction over the case.
  • She added that if jurisdiction is returned to her court, she will consider whether to keep any deadlines and proceedings, including the trial start date scheduled for March 4. That's the day before Super Tuesday.

Of note: Later Wednesday evening, the federal appeals court granted special counsel Jack Smith's request to expedite Trump's appeal.

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered that briefs be filed by deadlines between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.
  • A date for oral arguments has yet to be set.

Catch up quick: Trump has argued that presidential immunity shields him from prosecution for actions performed in his official duties. He filed a motion last week seeking to pause proceedings in the case.

  • Chutkan rejected the argument, saying: "Whatever immunities a sitting president may enjoy, the United States has only one chief executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong 'get-out-of-jail-free' pass."

What they're saying: Trump's campaign in a statement Wednesday evening called the case a "hoax" and said the move "is a big win" for the Republican primary front-runner as it derails the special counsel's "rush to judgment strategy of interfering in the 2024 Presidential Election in support of Joe Biden's campaign."

Zoom out: Trump was indicted in August over his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

  • He was charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights.
  • He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Go deeper: Jack Smith to use Trump's phone data at trial

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of the federal appeals court's decision and comment from the Trump campaign.

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