By Andrew Goudsward
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Donald Trump does not enjoy immunity from criminal charges accusing him of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat, but the decision does not mean the former US president will immediately face trial.
Here’s a look at the next steps in the case:
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Trump plans to appeal the decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a campaign spokesperson said. He could either ask the full D.C. Circuit Court to reconsider the panel’s decision or go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Progress in the case has been stalled since December while Trump pursues his immunity bid and his appeal has already postponed the scheduled March 4 trial date.
The appeals court suspended the effect of its ruling until Monday to give Trump time to appeal to the Supreme Court. If the justices agree to take up the issue, the case will likely remain on hold for weeks or months while the High Court considers the appeal.
If Trump asks the full D.C. Circuit to intervene, the case will move forward while the justices decide whether to reconsider the ruling. But if a majority of the court’s 11 active judges agree to take up the case, the pause will take effect again.
WHY IS TRUMP LOOKING FOR DELAY?
If Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, wins the November election and becomes president again, he could seek a pardon or order the Justice Department to drop the charges. A delay would also avoid weeks of legal proceedings that are expected to feature testimony from current and former political allies about Trump’s refusal to accept his 2020 election defeat and attempts to thwart certification of the vote.
Even a more modest delay could benefit Trump. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, may be reluctant to schedule a trial that would sideline Trump for months in mid-fall…