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Jack Smith’s Supreme Court Gamble Could Become Huge Win For Trump

When special counsel Jack Smith bypassed federal appeals courts last week and took a case involving his prosecution of former President Donald Trump directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, he took a chance that could come back to bite him.

Smith questioned the justices last week about whether Trump has presidential immunity, which would shield him from prosecution for his actions leading up to and during the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Trump’s legal team has until Dec. 20 to respond.

FILE – Insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. All eyes are on the Supreme Court in Donald Trump’s federal 2020 election interference case. The conservative-majority Supreme Court’s next moves could determine whether the former president stands trial in Washington ahead of the November election.(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

In addition to that, the justices also agreed to hear a case brought by two of the rioters, including Fischer v. United States, which involves Capitol rioter Joseph Fischer’s appeal of the Justice Department’s interpretation of “obstruction of an official proceeding”— which is the same felony charge that Trump is facing in his own criminal case.

In addition, Newsweek noted, “Trump is also facing one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and one count of conspiracy against rights. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.”

The outlet further explained: Because Fischer could potentially upend hundreds of cases, including Trump’s, legal experts said the SCOTUS announcement could give Trump’s team further reason to delay the trial, which is scheduled to begin March 4, 2024.

Trump attorneys have already sought to push the trial date until after the 2024 election. Smith, who has insisted that the proceedings begin on time, filed his own petition with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, asking the justices to weigh in on a critical issue that would keep the case on track with the proposed trial timeline.

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade explained to Newsweek that the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Fischer’s case doesn’t necessarily delay Trump’s case. However, Smith may consider pushing the trial date until after the justices rule to determine the validity of the two counts of obstruction against Trump.

“Even though he has two other counts in the indictment, convictions on the obstruction counts could jeopardize the whole case on appeal if a court were later to find that the jury may have relied on evidence of the obstruction in reaching its decision,” McQuade told the outlet. “Other options are to drop the obstruction counts now and proceed on the other two counts or take his chances with all four counts and move forward.”

Legal commentator Randall Eliason agreed with McQuade and told Newsweek that there is a “good chance” that the Fischer case will lead to a delay in the March 4 trial date.

“Both the judge and the parties will likely want to see what the Supreme Court has to say before going to trial, or at the very least before instructing the jury,” he told the outlet.

In his Sunday newsletter, Eliason suggested that Judge Tanya Chutkan, overseeing Trump’s federal election interference case, might prefer not to take the case to trial without first hearing the Supreme Court’s decision on the charge constituting half of Trump’s indictment. Eliason proposed that Chutkan could attempt to start the trial in mid-May, anticipating the justices’ decision on Fischer before providing jury instructions. Even if the trial begins in July, a verdict could still be reached before the 2024 election.

Former federal prosecutor and elected state attorney Michael McAuliffe stated that Smith has structured the indictment against Trump in a way that even if the Supreme Court were to rule against the obstruction charges, it would not hinder the progression of the federal election case.

“Each count can stand on its own even though they arise from the same set of factual allegations,” McAuliffe told the outlet. “As such, the Supreme Court’s prospective decision defining the scope of one subsection of the federal obstruction of an official proceeding statute will not derail the special counsel’s prosecution of Donald Trump in the D.C. case.”

Trump is also accused of participating in a fake elector scheme, which allegedly involved the use of phony documents.

But there is another wrinkle as well: the question of presidential immunity.

Newsweek noted: “McAuliffe said the only real threat to Trump’s federal election case would be the presidential immunity claim, which Smith already brought to the Supreme Court in his petition last week. The justices have given Trump’s team until December 20 to respond to Smith’s petition before the court decides whether or not to take the case.”

Ben Collis is a freelance journalist for the Trending Politico covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.
Ben Collis
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