Jack Smith Goes After Trump For Attempting To Force Delays In Court

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In a recent filing with federal Judge Tanya Chutkan, the team of Special Counsel Jack Smith argued that the approach taken by the Trump team in some of their own filings indicated a delay attempt threatening — or at least seeking to threaten — the timely arrival at trial in March. The underlying case accuses Trump of criminal conspiracies targeting the 2020 election results.

Smith’s team points to developments like the delays in Trump’s team actually making certain motions, moving the accompanying disputes closer to the scheduled trial. Now, the Trump team wants everything else put on hold while a claim that presidential immunity shields Trump is decided, something for which the prosecutors said there just wasn’t legal support.

“The defendant’s motion cites and quotes several civil cases regarding general legal principles about the effect of immunity claims, ECF No. 128 at 1-2, but these cases do not have anything to do with the defendant’s requested relief here. Instead, they stand for the principle that while a non-frivolous question of immunity is pending on appeal—rather than pending a decision in the district court, as the defendant’s claim is here—the party asserting immunity cannot be forced to go to trial,” prosecutors said. In other words, the precedent for a halt to proceedings is connected to claims of immunity that reach the appeals court level, which isn’t even where Trump’s immunity claim associated with his past office has arrived.

“The defendant cites cases to argue that questions of immunity should be resolved at the earliest possible stage in litigation,” the government added Monday. “But the defendant’s dilatory actions regarding his immunity and stay motions demonstrate that he is less interested in resolution of the merits of his claims than in using them for delay.”

The same filing also saw prosecutors arguing for the swift resolution in court of Trump’s immunity claims to help further close off possibilities of delaying trial. Elsewhere recently, Smith’s prosecutors have also been challenging the notion that disputed statements from Trump are covered by the First Amendment and making connections between Trump and the violence of January 6 that they say will be further explored at trial.