Updated Feb 14, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Jack Smith urges Supreme Court to deny Trump's request to delay Jan. 6 trial

Special Counsel Jack Smith delivers remarks on a recently unsealed indictment including four felony counts against former U.S. President Donald Trump at the Justice Department on August 1, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Special Counsel Jack Smith at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., last year. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Special Counsel Jack Smith asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny former President Trump's request to pause the federal 2020 election case while the Republican appeals a D.C. court ruling that he's not immune from prosecution.

Why it matters: The trial in the federal election subversion case had been due to start on March 4, but it was postponed indefinitely pending the outcome of Trump's presidential immunity appeal. Trump is facing four separate criminal indictments while campaigning as the Republican presidential front-runner.

  • While Wednesday's filing to the Supreme Court from Smith and his team does not mention the 2024 presidential election, it does note that the "nation has a compelling interest in the prompt resolution of this case."

Zoom in: "The charged crimes strike at the heart of our democracy," Smith and his team wrote in their filing to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

  • "A President's alleged criminal scheme to overturn an election and thwart the peaceful transfer of power to his successor should be the last place to recognize a novel form of absolute immunity from federal criminal law," they added.
  • "Delay in the resolution of these charges threatens to frustrate the public interest in a speedy and fair verdict — a compelling interest in every criminal case and one that has unique national importance here, as it involves federal criminal charges against a former president for alleged criminal efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election, including through the use of official power."

The other side: Lawyers for Trump have argued that the case should be dismissed on the grounds of presidential immunity.

  • Trump is also citing presidential immunity in seeking the dismissal of his case in Georgia, which also centers around his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
  • While many legal experts reject Trump's claims that a former president must have total immunity over actions taken while in office, no former president has been charged with a crime and thus the argument is untested in the courts.
  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: What to know about Trump's immunity claims in the 2020 election cases

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