The Supreme Court on Friday declined to quickly hear arguments on whether former President Donald Trump has immunity from federal prosecution following a request from special counsel Jack Smith.
The decision came down in a one-sentence order days after Smith asked for the case to be fast-tracked.
It was not immediately clear why the Supreme Court decided not to take up the case. Typically, similar issues have to be decided first by district and appellate courts before being considered by the nation’s highest court.
Smith argued that expediting the case was warranted to ensure Trump gets a fair and speedy trial if his immunity claim is rejected. Trump’s attorneys argued that Smith was trying to “rush to decide the issues with reckless abandon” when caution and care were actually needed, CNN reported.
Trump’s trial is scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024, though Smith said it cannot go on pending his appeal.
The issue will next go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which has indicated it plans to handle the case quickly, The Associated Press reported.
Earlier, Smith warned that the case might not make it to the Supreme Court before its usual summer break, even with a speedy decision from the appellate court, according to the AP.
In August, the special counsel charged Trump with conspiracy and other charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the U.S. Capitol and attempts to pressure officials into changing the election results. The former president has argued that he is immune from prosecution in the case because it involves conduct that fell within his official responsibilities as president.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, framing the cases as politically motivated ahead of the 2024 presidential election. He has long been the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
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