Judge postpones Trump’s federal trial while court considers his claim for presidential immunity

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Washington – Former President Donald Trump‘s Prosecution for interference in federal elections In Washington, D.C., it will no longer start on March 4, Your Honor Tanya Chutkan he wrote in the court order issued Friday.

It’s not clear when exactly the trial will begin now, but the case has been on pause for nearly two months — a halt the Trump team requested On December 7thAnd it was Awarded on December 13 – Which means the soonest the trial can start will likely be late April or early May.

Setting a start date for early May could easily mean the trial would not end until after the Republican National Convention, scheduled for July 15-18 in Milwaukee.

In a precedent to requestChutkan repeated that a total seven months It was “adequate time” for Trump to prepare for trial, not including the time the case was paused.

Friday’s ruling comes as the D.C. Circuit Court has not yet decided whether the former president is Immune to prosecution. A panel of federal appeals court judges heard oral arguments on January 9, and the case is on an accelerated schedule.

“The court will establish a new timeline for when the authorization is restored,” Chutkan’s court order said.

Trump’s lawyer and a spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.

There were previous hints that March 4 starting date It will not go ahead as scheduled. Chutkan was scheduled to oversee trial proceedings in a separate case on April 2, according to court dockets, which would have overlapped with Trump’s case had March 4 been the start date. As of Thursday, the D.C. court calendar also did not list Chutkan as supervisor for a March 4 case.

The Office of Special Counsel Jack Smith has previously done so estimated And that the prosecution will not need “more than four to six weeks” to present its case, and Potential jurors They were told that the trial “may last approximately three months after jury selection is completed.”

The original trial start date of March 4 placed the landmark case in the middle of the affair Primary Republicopinionjust one day before voters in 16 states cast their ballots on Super Tuesday.

One of Trump’s lawyers, Dr. john sawyer, Argue The D.C. Circuit Court says the president can be tried for private conduct, but says Trump is immune from prosecution because of the Constitution’s separation of powers. When Trump questioned the 2020 election results and pushed Congress to do so, Sawyer said Cluster certificateHe was acting in an official capacity as president.

The president has adopted this argument in his social media posts.

Trump said in his statements: “The President of the United States must enjoy complete immunity, without which it will be impossible for him to properly perform his duties.” job To the social truth in January.

Eliminating the March 4 start date increases Trump’s chances of winning New York A case involving allegations of secret payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels will be the former president’s next trial. This case is currently scheduled to begin March 25.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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