Supreme Court gives Jack Smith one week to respond to Trump’s request to further delay immunity decision


The United States Supreme Court gives government prosecutors on Jack Smith’s team until Feb. 20 to respond to Trump’s appeal to pause the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that presidential immunity does not protect Trump from being prosecuted over his attempts to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden. Ahead of a final ruling by Judge Arthur Engoron in Trump’s $370 million civil fraud trial, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York files a complaint against New York Attorney General Letitia James accusing her of “conducting a biased investigation and prosecution” of Trump. Here are the latest legal developments facing the former president who is hoping to be reelected to the White House in 2024.

Jan. 6 election interference

Key players: Special counsel Jack Smith, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Judge Tanya Chutkan

  • On Tuesday, the Supreme Court gave Smith’s team one week to respond to Trump’s request to keep his federal election interference on hold until his appeals play out on the question of whether presidential immunity protects him from being prosecuted, .

  • On Monday, Trump’s lawyers asked the court to pause the court of appeals ruling that presidential immunity did not shield Trump from being prosecuted for his attempts to try to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.

  • In a unanimous ruling released last week, the three-judge appeals court panel issued its ruling, but gave Trump a week to appeal it before sending the case back to Chutkan.

  • Trump said in his filing with the Supreme Court that he would request that the full, 11-member appeals court review the panel’s decision. Whatever the full appeals court decides to do, Trump could also appeal that to the high court.

  • Smith is not required to wait until Feb. 20 to file his response to Trump’s request for a further delay, but the high court has so far shown little urgency on the timeline for the case that was originally scheduled to begin on March 4.

  • In December, of Chutkan’s ruling that Trump was not protected by presidential immunity in the election inference case.

Why it matters: From the start, Trump’s legal strategy in the civil and criminal cases against him has been to try to have them either dismissed outright or delayed until after the 2024 election. If that were to happen in the federal criminal cases and Trump were to win reelection, he could either seek to preemptively pardon himself or direct the Department of Justice to drop their prosecutions of him.

New York financial fraud

Rep. Stefanik files complaint against New York Attorney General

Key players: Judge Arthur Engoron, Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York Attorney General Letitia James, New York Committee on Professional Standards

  • As the judge in Trump’s $370 million civil fraud trial prepares to release his ruling on the amount the former president, his adult sons and his family business must pay in fines for years of fraudulent business practices, Stefanik filed a complaint against James with the Committee on Professional Standards, .

  • In the complaint, Stefanik alleges that James has been “conducting a biased investigation and prosecution” against Trump.

  • Trump is reportedly considering Stefanik as a running mate in the 2024 election.

  • Stefanik has already filed similar complaints against Engoron and against U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who has handled numerous Jan. 6 cases.

Why it matters: Engoron is poised to deliver a judgment against Trump that could cost the former president hundreds of millions and limit his company’s ability to do business in New York.

Recommended reading

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Monday, February 12

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Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers file a last-ditch appeal with the United States Supreme Court on the question of whether presidential immunity protects him from being prosecuted for alleged crimes he committed when he tried to overturn his loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Here are the latest legal developments surrounding the former president who is hoping to be reelected to the White House in 2024.

Jan. 6 election interference

Trump files appeal with Supreme Court on question of presidential immunity

Key players: U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia,  Judge Tanya Chutkan, special counsel Jack Smith

  • As expected, lawyers for Trump filed an appeal Monday with the Supreme Court, asking them to delay a lower court’s ruling that presidential immunity does not protect him from being prosecuted by Smith for his attempts to overturn the results of his 2020 election loss to Biden, CBS News reported.

  • “President Trump’s claim that Presidents have absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for their official acts presents a novel, complex, and momentous question that warrants careful consideration on appeal,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

  • In their notice of appeal, Trump’s lawyers said that if the high court allowed presidents to be prosecuted for crimes, that such cases would become commonplace.

  • Trump’s lawyers are asking the Supreme Court to pause the lower court’s ruling so that the full U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals can review the issue.

  • Smith has charged Trump with four felony counts in the election interference case, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and conspiracy to obstruct Congress.

  • The Supreme Court is the last option for Trump’s lawyers to seek to try to stop the case from going to trial.

  • Last week, the Court of Appeals ruled that being president did not protect Trump from being prosecuted by Smith and that his efforts to overturn the election were not part of his official duties.

  • The appeals court gave Trump until Monday, Feb. 12, to appeal the decision to the high court.

Why it matters: Given the meticulously written decision by three-judge Court of Appeals panel, the Supreme Court could decide that it will not take up Trump’s request for a pause in the case. If the high court does accept the case, it could either end up sparing him from facing prosecution altogether or delay the start of the trial until after the 2024 election.



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