Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday suggested Trump’s trial in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s DC case could extend into late summer and possibly into the general election.
Chutkan made the remarks in a conference for another case, according to Politico.
Excerpt from Politico:
The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C., criminal case acknowledged Monday that the former president’s trial could extend deep into 2024 — though significant uncertainty continues to cloud the timeline.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan told attorneys in another criminal case that she intended to be out of the country in early August — unless Trump’s trial is underway.
“I hope not to be in the country on August 5,” Chutkan said in a sparsely attended conference for the other criminal case, one of more than 1,200 stemming from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. If she is stateside, Chutkan added, that will be because “I’m in trial in another matter that has not yet returned to my calendar.”
Chutkan’s comment was a clear reference to Trump’s case, which has been on hold since December as a federal appeals court considers whether Trump should be deemed “immune” from charges related to his conduct as president.
Chutkan, the Obama appointee who is overseeing Jack Smith’s January 6 case against Trump in DC formally postponed the trial on Friday.
On Thursday it was reported Jack Smith’s DC case against Trump had been removed from the court calendar. The March 4, 2024 trial date, which was scheduled before Super Tuesday, was dropped from the calendar within the last week.
Judge Chutkan in an order Friday postponed the trial and told the prospective jurors who were asked to fill out a pre-trial questionnaire not to appear in court this week.
Chutkan was forced to postpone the March 4 trial as the DC Circuit Court of Appeals considers Trump’s immunity claims.
Trump’s lawyers argued that Trump is immune from federal prosecution for alleged ‘crimes’ committed while he served as US President.
“In 234 years of American history, no president ever faced criminal prosecution for his official acts. Until 19 days ago, no court had ever addressed whether immunity from such prosecution exists,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in last month’s filing, according to CBS News. “To this day, no appellate court has addressed it. The question stands among the most complex, intricate, and momentous issues that this Court will be called on to decide.”
Last month, John Sauer, a Missouri-based attorney for Trump, appeared before a three-judge panel for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to argue Trump’s immunity claims in Jack Smith’s DC case.
The three-judge panel hearing oral arguments on immunity claims: Florence Pan (Biden appointee), Michelle Childs (Biden appointee), and Karen Henderson (George W. Bush appointee).
On January 9 a three-judge panel heard oral arguments and appeared skeptical of Trump’s immunity claims – one judge, a Biden appointee, asked attorney John Sauer if Trump would be subject to criminal prosecution if he ordered SEAL Team 6 to assassinate his political rivals.
If the DC Circuit Court of Appeals rules that Trump does not have presidential immunity, Trump will likely ask for an en banc hearing (a request for the court’s entire slate of 11 judges to make a decision).
Out of the 11 judges at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, only four are conservatives so Trump will likely have to take the immunity fight to the US Supreme Court.