The former president filed a motion requesting a pause while the judge considers whether he has presidential immunity.
Attorneys for former President Donald Trump requested a pause in the 2020 federal election case proceedings while a judge considers if he had presidential immunity.
They noted that a number of public officials, including members of Congress and police officers, often can get “stays of discovery and of other pre-trial proceedings when they assert official immunity, pending a final resolution of those asserted claims of immunity.”
“The prosecution contends that President Trump should be the only official in America who is not entitled to such consideration,” President Trump’s attorneys wrote, responding to counter-arguments foisted by special prosecutor Jack Smith and his team, adding that he should have the same rights as other officials to place a hold on litigation while questions about whether he’s immune can be considered.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors asked the judge to dismiss the former president’s motion to halt the election case and said the motions were issued “to prevent undue delay and maintain the trial date.”
“The defendant’s motion to stay provides no basis to support his claim that the court, before even rendering a decision on the defendant’s immunity motion, should suddenly halt all work in this case simply because the defendant says that he is immune,” the prosecutors wrote. “That is because there is none.”
But the Trump team contended Wednesday that that’s not the case. Instead, according to his lawyers, he met the filing deadlines imposed by Judge Chutkan.
“The prosecution falsely contends that President Trump attempted to unreasonably delay the proceedings by filing his Motion to Dismiss Based on Presidential Immunity” last month, it said, adding that it was filed “well in advance” of the filing dealing. “The prosecution neglects to mention that President Trump filed an exhaustively researched, 45-page motion, Doc. 74, while counsel was also seeking to review nearly 13 million pages of discovery and thousands of hours of video and audio,” it added.
The former president faces a four-count indictment alleging that he attempted to overturn the 2020 election in an illegal manner. The original indictment had accused the president and his allies of attempting to “exploit the violence and chaos” by calling to delay the certification on Jan. 6, 2021. President Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, calling it a politically motivated witch hunt.
Earlier this month, he filed a motion to have his federal election trial televised, a rarity for federal courts, after a number of mainstream media outlets pushed the judge in the case to have it broadcast. They have argued that it’s in the public’s interest to have the trial broadcast, noting President Trump’s status as the 2024 Republican presidential front-runner.
The Justice Department has opposed the effort, arguing that the judge overseeing the case does not have the authority to ignore the longstanding nationwide policy against cameras in federal courtrooms.
“I want this trial to be seen by everybody in the world,” President Trump said earlier this month during a campaign event in New Hampshire. “The prosecution wishes to continue this travesty in darkness and I want sunlight.”
Aside from the two aforementioned court motions, the 45th president’s team has asked an appeals court to rescind Judge Chutkan’s gag order that primarily targets President Trump. The court previously issued a stay on her order as it considers President Trump’s and prosecutors’ arguments, with oral arguments scheduled for Nov. 20.
However, the former president’s lawyers said that any restrictions on his speech violate his First Amendment rights, arguing that Judge Chutkan’s earlier order was too broad and vague.
His lawyers added that her order “embodies this unconstitutional hostility to President Trump’s viewpoint,” and it “should be immediately stayed.” In the motion, his team had said that they are prepared to take their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, although it’s unclear whether the high court will actually hear it.
Aside from the federal election case, the former president has been charged in Georgia, New York, and Florida, and he has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. His business, the Trump Organization, is also on trial in a civil fraud case in New York.