The case is now stalled in the district court as President Trump pursues a presidential immunity defense to dismiss the case in an appeals court.
Former President Donald Trump’s March 4 trial date had been heavily spotlighted as it would put the former president on trial for his actions during his last days in office, just one day before more than a dozen states hold their Republican primaries, also known as Super Tuesday. But now that date has been knocked off the court calendar.
The date had originally been set by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who held fast to March 4 amid several attempts by Trump attorneys to push back the court schedule and ultimately the trial. Judge Chutkan had granted several modest delays for pre-trial deadlines without moving the trial date, thus tightening the case schedule.
But this trial delay was expected, as the case is now stalled in the district court as President Trump pursues a presidential immunity defense to dismiss the case in an appeals court. Both prosecutors and Judge Chutkan had suggested a March 4 trial was impossible in recent court filings, with prosecutors still pushing to try the case in the current term and arguing that a speedy trial was in the public’s interest.
Court Schedule Stalled as Elections Progress
The paused case, in which President Trump pleaded not guilty to four counts of obstruction and conspiracy related to his actions on Jan. 6, has been stalled for almost two months now, and other case schedules are also in flux.
He previously faced another March trial brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, accusing President Trump of falsifying business records, but the trial was set to be delayed in light of the several other court dates on the calendar. President Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts.
In May, President Trump was originally scheduled to go to trial in the Southern District of Florida, but this trial has also been delayed with the judge ruling that the discovery process has been more complicated and time-consuming than originally expected. This case arose after an FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, and President Trump has pleaded not guilty to 40 counts related to mishandling classified documents. A new trial date has not yet been set.
Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, have requested an August trial date in a large-scale racketeering case naming President Trump and 14 others, expecting to need three to five months to present their case. The indictment lists 41 counts, including 13 for President Trump to which he has pleaded not guilty.
This trial date has not been set by a judge yet, and attorneys for President Trump have argued that a trial that takes place through the general elections in November can only be seen as election interference, complicating matters for jurors who may be required to judge the candidate as they weigh whether or not they will vote for him.
President Trump’s attorneys and several other legal experts have predicted that if the cases do not go to trial before the general election, they may not go to trial at all if he wins reelection.
President Trump had filed four motions to dismiss his case in Washington, one of which argued he had presidential immunity that shielded him from such prosecution. After the motion was denied in the district court, President Trump brought the motion to the appeals court.
Because the appeal deals with whether the case can continue at all, the district court ordered a stay on all proceedings during the appeals process.
Since Dec. 13, the case has been on pause. The appeals court heard oral arguments in early January, but it is unclear when a decision will be forthcoming.
If the appeals court does not dismiss the case, President Trump’s attorneys are expected to pursue additional delays, including by appealing the other three motions to dismiss the case. The defense has argued the case should be thrown out based on statutory grounds, constitutional grounds, and due to selective and vindictive prosecution.
Several other factors are complicating the timeline, as the defense can further appeal decisions the appellate court issues if they find them unfavorable, including to the U.S. Supreme Court, which if accepted would pause the case again.
The defense has also argued that the discovery process requires more time while accusing the prosecutors of not turning over required materials, but the district court judge has already rejected multiple requests to delay deadlines for discovery.