Is Trump winning? Looks like it!
The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to grant a hearing for the appeal in the Capitol rioter case, Fischer v. United States, introduces a potential complication for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of former President Donald Trump in the federal election interference case. The case revolves around the interpretation of “obstruction of an official proceeding,” a felony charge shared by both Capitol rioter Joseph Fischer and Trump in his criminal case. Alongside this charge, Trump faces one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and one count of conspiracy against rights, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Legal experts speculate that the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Fischer’s appeal could impact not only his case but also numerous others, including Trump’s. This development provides Trump’s defense team with additional grounds to seek a delay in the trial, currently scheduled for March 4, 2024. The defense has already aimed to postpone the trial until after the 2024 election.
In response to potential delays, Special Counsel Smith, who has emphasized the importance of commencing proceedings on time, filed a petition with the Supreme Court, urging them to address a critical issue to keep the case on track for the proposed trial timeline.
Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade suggested that while the decision to hear Fischer might not automatically delay Trump’s case, Smith might consider postponing the trial until after the Supreme Court ruling to ensure the validity of the obstruction charges. Legal commentator Randall Eliason also expressed the likelihood that the Fischer case could impact the trial date.
However, former federal prosecutor Michael McAuliffe argued that Smith has structured the indictment against Trump in a way that allows the federal election case to proceed even if the Supreme Court strikes down the obstruction charges. McAuliffe noted the distinct factual allegations in Trump’s case compared to Fischer’s, emphasizing that a Supreme Court decision might have a limited impact on Trump’s charges. The potential threat to Trump’s case lies in the presidential immunity claim, a matter already brought before the Supreme Court by Smith, with a response from Trump’s team expected by December 20.