Judge in Trump’s 2020 election case pauses proceedings amid dispute over immunity

The federal judge who is overseeing the case of former President Donald Trump involving 2020 elections has agreed to temporarily suspend proceedings until Trump decides whether or not he should be granted broad immunity against criminal prosecution.

In a short order issued on Wednesday, U.S. district judge Tanya Chutkan granted Trump’s request for a halt to the proceedings until he could pursue his appeal. Chutkan stated that Trump’s appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit requires her to automatically stop further proceedings which would have moved the case towards trial.

In the evening of Wednesday, D.C. In an unsigned order, the Circuit announced that it would expedite its review of district court’s ruling and set up a schedule so Trump and Jack Smith could file briefs within the next few weeks. The Judges Karen Henderson Michelle Childs Florence Pan will hear the arguments, which are yet to be scheduled.

Chutkan stated in her decision that Trump’s action gives the higher court the jurisdiction to hear the case. Chutkan said that, if she is given the case back, she will decide “whether or not to continue any future deadlines and proceedings including the March 4 trial.”

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In August, Trump was accused of four counts, including conspiracy against the United States. Prosecutors claimed that he had orchestrated a plan to prevent a peaceful transfer after the 2020 Presidential election. He has pleaded guilty to these charges and denied any wrongdoing.

Chutkan was asked to dismiss the charges by Trump last month. He argued that he would be shielded from prosecution under federal law because the alleged conduct took place while he served as president and was within the “outer boundary” of his official duties. The judge rejected his claim of immunity as president.

Trump requested that the D.C. Smith, on Monday, requested that the Supreme Court review Chutkan’s decision. This would completely bypass the appeals courts. The Supreme Court agreed to expedite its review of the case and gave Trump until December 20 to respond to Smith’s request.

In her order on Wednesday, Chutkan stated that she would still enforce the existing measures to “safeguard integrity” of proceedings. These include a gag-order limiting what Trump could publicly say about the case, and a protective measure governing the use “sensitive” evidence.

She wrote: “Maintaining these measures does not progress the case to trial or impose additional burdens of litigation for Defendant than those he currently carries.” “And if the criminal defendant can bypass these critical safeguards by merely asserting immunity, and then appeal its denial, during the pendency of the appeal, the defendant may irreparably damage any future proceedings or their participants.”

Chutkan did note, however, that any higher court decision regarding these measures would bind her.

The Special Counsel’s Office declined to comment about the order.

The D.C. The D.C. Circuit last week upheld Chutkan’s gag order to the extent it prevents Trump from making any public statements about potential witness in the case, attorneys, members of the court staff and lawyers’ staff, or their family members. Former President Trump can criticize Smith, Biden’s administration and the Justice Department, but he cannot make public statements about potential witnesses, lawyers, court staff, or their family members.

Trump has stated that he will appeal against the decision of the three-judge committee, but he has not done so formally yet.