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Trump Election Case Appeal Could Delay Action Past 2024 Vote

Donald Trump is readying what may be his best shot at avoiding spending much of next year in a courtroom facing criminal charges of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat, starting an appeal that could go to the Supreme Court. The gambit may succeed, legal experts said -- not necessarily by persuading higher courts of the merits of his case, but simply by bogging down the system and keeping him free to campaign against President Biden, Reuters reports. Trump's lawyers on Thursday said they would appeal a ruling the federal judge overseeing his Washington, D.C., case on federal election subversion charges, denying Trump's claim that he is immune from prosecution related to official actions he took as president. That ruling may be the last one Trump will be able to appeal before the start of his trial, scheduled to begin in March.

"It is very possible that all of this extends well past when the trial is supposed to start," said Georgetown law Prof. Erica Hashimoto, an expert on federal appeals courts. "If what former President Trump wants is delay, he can get delay this way." Trump’s legal team moved to halt all proceedings before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, arguing that his appeal stops the case from progressing "in its entirety." Special Counsel Jack Smith has accused Trump of attempting to "delay and disrupt" the trial schedule at "every opportunity." Smith will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to expedite its review of the issue. Trump argues that subjecting former presidents to criminal prosecution for conduct related to their official responsibilities would weaken the presidency. Chutkan dismissed that argument, saying it would give former presidents a "lifelong 'get-out-of-jail-free' pass." It is unclear how long a delay Trump’s appeal may create.


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