Trump asks judge to halt ‘all proceedings’ in election interference case and decide ‘presidential immunity’

Defence counsel ask Judge Chutkan to resolve question of presidential immunity

Donald Trump’s attorney moved a plea before a federal judge asking her to halt “all proceedings” in the Washington case accusing him of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

In a three-page request, they have asked US district judge Tanya Chutkan to decide on the question of “presidential immunity”.

Earlier, US federal prosecutors pushed back against Mr Trump’s attempt to have election conspiracy charges dismissed on the grounds that he enjoyed immunity for actions he took while in the White House.

“No one in this country, not even the president, is above the law,” special counsel Jack Smith’s team wrote in a 54-page motion filed with the judge presiding over the landmark case.

In the latest plea moved before the court, defence counsel John Lauro has now asked for a complete stay till the question of presidential immunity is resolved.

“President Donald J Trump respectfully requests that this court stay all proceedings in this case until the issues raised in his motion to dismiss the indictment based on presidential immunity… are fully resolved,” read the plea.

“Here, President Trump has moved to dismiss based on his absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for acts within the outer perimeter of his presidential responsibilities,” it said.

Mr Trump is facing four criminal cases and has made disparaging comments about prosecutors in each of them, as well as against the New York state attorney general who brought civil fraud charges against him.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to charges that he plotted to interfere unlawfully in the counting of votes and block the congressional certification of his 2020 loss to Democrat Joe Biden. A trial in the case is slated to begin on 4 March next year in Washington DC.