On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court imposed a deadline for Special Counsel Jack Smith to respond to former President Trump’s request to keep his federal Jan. 6 trial on hold as he appeals his immunity claims.
In a brief order, the high court ordered Smith to respond by Tuesday, Feb. 20.
According to The Hill, Trump filed an emergency motion Monday urging the justices to block a lower ruling that he doesn’t have presidential immunity from the indictment, an argument that has enabled Trump to delay his trial date as the appeals process proceeds.
The Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision on Trump’s motion is poised to have outsized influence on whether the former president’s trial will take place before this year’s elections. The trial was originally scheduled for March 4 but was shelved as Trump appealed the immunity issue.
Smith has aimed to take Trump to trial quickly to avoid the possibility of Trump first returning to the White House and then pardoning himself or ordering his Justice Department to drop the case.
By next Tuesday, the special counsel will now have to respond to Trump’s latest tactic: requesting his trial be kept on hold until he can ask the full District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals to review his immunity claims, and then, if needed, the Supreme Court.
Trump is charged in the case with four federal felonies that accuse him of conspiring to subvert the 2020 election results. It is one of four criminal cases he faces. Trump has pleaded not guilty.