SCOTUS Decision May Change Trump Court Dates
A major development in the legal cases surrounding the January 6 Capitol riot and former President Donald Trump has led to a major delay in the criminal trial against Trump. On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would take up an appeal involving a key statute used by the Department of Justice in prosecuting protesters and Trump is one of the defendants impacted by this development.
The case, titled United States v. Fischer, centers around the DOJ’s use of an obstruction statute in charging defendants with “corruptly obstructing an official proceeding” under 18 U.S.C. Section 1512(c). Two of the four counts in the indictment filed against Trump are based on this statute, and if the Supreme Court finds in favor of the defendant, it could result in the dismissal of these two charges.
Defense counsel for January 6 defendants, including the author of this article, have been challenging the use of this statute since the beginning of the case. However, their efforts have been consistently denied by district court judges in Washington D.C. But with the Fischer case now headed to the Supreme Court, there is hope among defense counsel that the issue will get the attention it deserves.
At the same time, Trump’s own legal team has been fighting in court to have a key issue regarding his case addressed. Earlier this month, the trial judge denied a motion to dismiss filed by Trump, based on a claim of absolute immunity for official acts taken while in office. This decision was not surprising, but it ultimately led to a jurisdictional dilemma for the trial court judge.
As a result, Chutkan ordered immediate briefings from both sides to address this issue. However, just hours after the Supreme Court announced it would hear the Fischer case, Chutkan decided to stay the trial and pretrial action deadlines, citing the impact of this development on the Trump case. This means that the March 4, 2024 trial date has been delayed indefinitely.
This development comes as a blow to those hoping for a speedy resolution to these cases, particularly Trump’s opponents who believe he will be convicted by a D.C. jury. However, the writing was on the wall when the Supreme Court announced it would hear the Section 1512 case, with two of the four charges against Trump being based on this statute.
The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the Fischer case has major implications for the Trump trial, as it prevents the case from proceeding while the appeal is ongoing. This means the pace of the immunity appeal is now irrelevant, as the trial cannot start until the Fischer appeal is decided.
It remains to be seen how these legal developments will impact the Trump trial and the other cases surrounding the January 6 riot. But for now, the March 4 trial date has been stayed and the pretrial proceedings have been put on hold. This is likely just the beginning of a long legal battle that will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.