Trump seeks to stop criminal case in DC

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If Chutkan agrees to the lawsuit, it could jeopardize his plan to begin the former president’s trial on March 4 in a Washington courtroom just blocks from the Capitol that his supporters attacked on January 6, 2021.

Trump appeals Chutkan order denying his claim that he enjoys immunity from prosecution on election-related charges by virtue of the fact that he was serving as president at the time. The order also rejected his argument that he cannot be prosecuted because he was impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate for his conduct related to the Capitol riot on January 6.

“President Trump’s filing of his notice of appeal has deprived this Court of jurisdiction over this case in its entirety pending resolution of the appeal,” wrote Trump’s attorneys, Todd Blanche and John Lauro. “Therefore, the suspension of all further proceedings is mandatory and automatic.”

Trump’s lawyers indicated that even if Chutkan does not grant the stay, they plan to ask the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to do so and intend to operate as if one exists. This could have consequences in a case that is expected to be just three months away from trial. Potential jurors have already begun receiving initial notifications from the court.

The attorneys said that unless Chutkan decides otherwise, they plan to ignore upcoming deadlines in the case regarding pretrial motions, information exchanges with prosecutors and the appointment of expert witnesses.

Trump’s legal team said in his 11-page presentation that prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s office have indicated they plan to oppose the suspension.

Trump’s lawyers noted that prosecutors have acknowledged that Trump cannot be forced to go to trial in the case while an immunity appeal is pending. But according to Trump’s lawyers, prosecutors appeared to want to leave the door open to pretrial procedures such as motions, hearings and trial planning in the coming months.

Trump’s lawyers rejected that approach, arguing that the former president has the right to avoid “the burdens of litigation” as his appeal proceeds, including the impact on his ongoing campaign for re-election to the presidency.

“Concerns regarding judicial resources and costs arising from continued litigation during the pendency of the appeal, including the financial, political, and reputational costs to President Trump and this country, are significant,” Blanche and Lauro wrote.

A spokesman for Smith’s office declined to comment Thursday.

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