Jack Smith To SCOTUS: Yes, There Absolutely Is A Reason To Rush Trump’s Case

The special counsel argued that the nation deserves resolution as soon as possible on the criminal charges against Trump for his Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt.
Special counsel Jack Smith leaves after speaking to the press in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023.
Special counsel Jack Smith leaves after speaking to the press in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023.
SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Responding to Donald Trump’s claim to the Supreme Court that there was no reason to rush the proceedings in the Jan. 6 criminal case against him, special counsel Jack Smith on Thursday told the high court: Oh, yes, there is — the former president’s unprecedented attempt to remain in power despite losing his election.

“The charges here are of the utmost gravity. This case involves ― for the first time in our nation’s history ― criminal charges against a former president based on his actions while in office,” Smith wrote in a 14-page filing. “And not just any actions: alleged acts to perpetuate himself in power by frustrating the constitutionally prescribed process for certifying the lawful winner of an election. The nation has a compelling interest in a decision on respondent’s claim of immunity from these charges ― and if they are to be tried, a resolution by conviction or acquittal, without undue delay.”

Trump’s lawyers on Wednesday had argued that there was no reason to speed up the appeals process because a question of this seriousness deserves a full and lengthy consideration. They then repeated claims that had been rejected by trial court Judge Tanya Chutkan that Trump’s attempts to overturn his election loss, including his actions leading up to and on Jan. 6, 2021, were part of his official duties.

Smith on Thursday rejected that argument.

“He maintains that the court should wait for the appellate process to unfold below so that this court has the benefit of the court of appeals’ decision,” Smith wrote, referring to Trump. “That suggestion is misguided. The public interest in a prompt resolution of this case favors an immediate, definitive decision by this court.”

The Washington, D.C., criminal case against Trump is set for trial starting on March 4. However, Trump’s appeal of Chutkan’s ruling denying him immunity has put a hold on proceedings. Smith went directly to the Supreme Court last week to skip over the intermediate federal appeals court.

Neither Smith nor Trump’s lawyers have put in writing one unique feature of the case: Trump, if he regains the presidency before the trial is concluded, is almost certain to order the Department of Justice to dismiss all federal charges against him.

Trump is facing a second federal criminal prosecution in South Florida for his refusal to turn over secret documents he took with him to his country club home. A Georgia state indictment charges him with numerous felonies for trying to overturn his election loss in that state, while a New York state grand jury has indicted him for falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star in the days ahead of the 2016 election.

If convicted of the most serious charges, he could be sent to prison for decades. Nevertheless, he remains the polling front-runner for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination.

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