Appeals Court to Fast Track Trump Immunity Case

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
December 13, 2023Trump Indictment
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Appeals Court to Fast Track Trump Immunity Case
(Left) Special Counsel Jack Smith delivers remarks in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023. (Right) Former President Donald Trump attends his trial in New York State Supreme Court in New York City on Dec. 7, 2023. (Drew Angerer, David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

A federal appeals court on Wednesday agreed to special prosecutor Jack Smith’s request to expedite former President Donald Trump’s appeal to dismiss his Washington, D.C., election case based on presidential immunity.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an order outlining a streamlined briefing schedule and calling for oral arguments, with the date to be set later.

According to the order, President Trump’s opening brief is due by Dec. 23. The order emphasized that issues and arguments should be raised in the opening brief, discouraging new points in the reply brief for consideration.

“The court ordinarily will not consider issues and arguments raised for the first time in the reply brief,” reads the order (pdf).

This decision follows statements by the attorneys representing President Trump accusing the special counsel’s office of election interference in a recent appeals court filing after Mr. Smith requested to expedite the appeal so that the case can go to trial on March 4, 2024. March 4 is Super Tuesday, the U.S. presidential primary election day.

“The prosecution has one goal in this case: To unlawfully attempt to try, convict, and sentence President Trump before an election in which he is likely to defeat President Biden,” the defense attorneys wrote.

“This represents a blatant attempt to interfere with the 2024 presidential election and to disenfranchise the tens of millions of voters who support President Trump’s candidacy.”

In response, prosecutors swiftly filed a court document asserting that President Trump’s legal team failed to present any valid reasons for the appeals court not to proceed on an expedited schedule. They argued that further delays in the case would “entail serious costs to the judicial system.”

This week, prosecutors already asked three separate courts to affirm a March 4 trial date. Prosecutors are arguing that it’s in the interest of the public to settle this case quickly, as it pertains to issues “at the heart of our democracy.”

Earlier, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan paused court proceedings on Wednesday in the case pending President Trump’s appeal.

“The court agrees with both parties that Defendant’s appeal automatically stays any further proceedings that would move this case towards trial or impose additional burdens of litigation on Defendant,” she wrote. “The court hereby stays the deadlines and proceedings scheduled by its Pretrial Order.”

Judge Chutkan clarified that this would pause the pretrial deadlines, not vacate them.

Attorneys for President Trump have sought to push the trial date back, citing the 13 million pages of discovery material they intend to review.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have stressed the importance of the case going to trial soon.

Defense attorneys now argue that the prosecution’s repeated requests for a March 4 trial date reveal their motives, having brought charges during President Trump’s campaign despite investigating for more than two years.

Defense attorneys have denounced this repeated reference to a March 4, 2024, trial in the prosecution’s recent court filings, arguing that their rationale shows “strategic gamesmanship” rather than “reliance on the law.”

In a major shake-up in the case last week, President Trump appealed Judge Chutkan’s denial of his motion to dismiss based on presidential immunity. The same day, defense attorneys filed a notice of appeal and a motion to stay proceedings in the district court because an appeals court decision could throw out the case.

Regardless of a favorable appeals court ruling for the defense, this would have thrown off the district court schedule, preventing the prosecution from securing their desired trial date.

Prosecutors have also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review President Trump’s presidential immunity defense so that it may inform the appeals court decision in a timely manner and allow for a March 4, 2024, trial date.

It is unclear how the pause in the district court pretrial schedule and the appeals court’s schedule will impact a potential March 4, 2024, trial date.

From The Epoch Times

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