Jack Smith Working To Keep Trump’s Trial On Track As Appeals Move Forward

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The federal prosecutors handling the criminal case against former President Donald Trump over his schemes after the last presidential election to stay in power despite losing to Joe Biden are keeping their end of pre-trial prep on track even as appeals move forward elsewhere.

Trump is appealing a rejection by presiding Judge Tanya Chutkan of his arguments that he holds wide-ranging legal protections by virtue of his time in office that should stop the case. While those arguments are proceeding, deadlines previously established for the road to trial are on hold. However, prosecutors are still producing (technically not required) filings to prepare for trial, keeping the process moving as much as they can so the progression can be quick should the case return to Chutkan.

“Nonetheless, to help ensure that trial proceeds promptly if and when the mandate returns, the Government today provided the defendant with the Government’s Draft Exhibit List,” a federal filing says. In other words, prosecutors met the deadline for notifying the opposing side — Trump’s team — of evidentiary exhibits they intend to present at trial, a sharing of information that allows for a more equitable preparatory process. The suspended deadline was December 18.

Chutkan granted in part a request from the former president’s team for formally putting on hold the bulk of the proceedings, though she outlined in her response to the Trump team’s requests that she’d still be directing related elements of the case outside the core of it, like the gag order she previously imposed that in its present form blocks attacks from Trump on witnesses in connection to their participation in the case. She also cited protections for jurors as among the case elements that would stay on track. Trump is separately continuing to challenge the gag order, which was already slightly narrowed by a three-judge panel on the federal court of appeals for D.C. Now, he wants the dispute reheard by all the appeals judges serving that federal circuit.