A US federal judge in Washington has officially postponed Donald Trump’s March trial on charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election, as a key legal appeal by the former president continues to wind its way through the courts.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Friday vacated the March 4 trial date in the case brought by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, but did not immediately set a new date.
The ruling clears the way for a separate case in New York, accusing Trump of paying money to a pornographic actor, to be handled first.
The delay comes as a federal appeals court has yet to rule on a pending appeal by Trump, arguing that he is immune from prosecution for actions he took in the White House.
It’s unclear when the three-judge panel might rule, but a ruling in favor of prosecutors that allows the case to move forward would have to be appealed by the Trump team, likely resulting in additional delays.
For both parties, timing is everything.
Trump, who faces four indictments and 91 counts, is seeking to delay his criminal cases as he enjoys front-runner status in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Smith’s team, meanwhile, hopes to be able to sue Trump this year, before the November election.
The Washington case was expected to take place first, but was delayed for several weeks due to Trump’s appeal on immunity grounds.
The appeals court heard arguments on January 9, and although it has stated its intention to work quickly, it has yet to issue a decision.