The U.S. Supreme Court has granted an emergency motion filed by special counsel Jack Smith, a case with significant implications not only for former President Donald Trump but also for numerous individuals arrested in connection with the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. The case questions the prosecution’s use of an Enron-era obstruction law to charge those involved in storming Congress, particularly focusing on the felony charge of “obstruction of an official proceeding.”
Trump, facing this charge among others, filed a motion with the Supreme Court to determine whether he has immunity from prosecution. The Supreme Court has expedited the review, providing Trump until December 20 to present a response. In response, Trump’s lawyers accused Smith of “election interference,” and the former president criticized the efforts to maintain a March 4 trial date, one day before the Super Tuesday primaries.
“Crooked Joe Biden’s henchman, Deranged Jack Smith, is so obsessed with interfering in the 2024 Presidential Election to prevent President Trump from retaking the Oval Office, as the President is poised to do, that Smith is willing to try for a Hail Mary by racing to the Supreme Court and attempting to bypass the appellate process,” a Trump spokesperson said of the filing.
The statement referred to Smith’s role in overseeing the Department of Justice’s public integrity unit, which successfully obtained a bribery and extortion conviction against former Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell in a gift-related case. However, the Supreme Court later overturned the conviction with an 8-0 decision in 2016.
“Deranged may need to be reminded that the Supreme Court has not been kind to him, including by handing down a rare unanimous rebuke when the Court overturned him 8-0 in the McDonnell case,” the spokesperson added.
Following a district court judge’s rejection of Trump’s immunity claims last week, the legal team for the former president promptly filed an appeal, seeking a halt in the court proceedings.
Subsequently, Smith’s legal team, on Monday, urged the Supreme Court to review the question of immunity before a federal appeals court in D.C. had the chance to rule on the matter. They argued that there is precedent from the Nixon Watergate tapes case in the early 1970s.
Smith’s team acknowledged this was an “extraordinary request” in an “extraordinary case,” adding: “It is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected.”
The special counsel also filed a separate request with the D.C. federal appeals court, seeking expedited proceedings in anticipation that the Supreme Court may not agree to accelerate the case before a ruling at the appellate level.
“The only reason for this petition is to seek to guarantee a trial of Trump (and possible conviction) before the election,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley opined about Smith’s maneuver in a series of posts to the X platform.
He noted further: “The Supreme Court may not view a trial of Trump during the campaign to be as motivating or urgent as does Smith. This is a novel legal argument that the Court would ordinarily prefer to hear the views of the appellate judges.”