Judge puts hold on Trump's federal election interference case while appeals process plays out

Special counsel Jack Smith had opposed a stay to keep the case on track.

December 13, 2023, 5:52 PM

The judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's federal election interference case in Washington, D.C., has stayed proceedings in the case while the appeals process plays out.

Trump's lawyers had requested the proceedings be stayed but special counsel Jack Smith's team opposed an all-out stay, saying they felt certain filings could still move forward to keep the case on track for the March 4 trial date.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said the delay does not prevent her from enforcing the protective orders in the case, Trump's conditions of release, or the limited gag order that prohibits Trump from making statements about potential witnesses or attacking the special counsel Jack Smith and his staff, as well as Chutkan's staff and the staff of other D.C. district court personnel.

"This is a big win for President Trump and our rule of law," Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement, adding that it derails what he called the special prosecutor's "strategy of interfering in the 2024 Presidential Election in support of Joe Biden's campaign."

Earlier this week, the special counsel asked the Supreme Court to intervene and resolve the matter to prevent any delays to the scheduled trial date.

In this July 8, 2023, file photo, former President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump prepares to deliver remarks at a Nevada Republican volunteer recruiting event at Fervent: A Calvary Chapel, in Las Vegas.
Mario Tama/Getty Images, FILE

The court said it would consider the request on an expedited basis.

Trump in August pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a "criminal scheme" to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called "fake electors," using the Justice Department to conduct "sham election crime investigations," trying to enlist the vice president to "alter the election results," and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged -- all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.

The former president has denied all wrongdoing and denounced the charges as "a persecution of a political opponent."

ABC News' Soo Rin Kim contributed to this report.

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