By Mark Steffen
Conservative legal scholar Jonathan Turley released his own take on Tuesday’s decision by a federal appellate court rejecting immunity claims by former President Donald Trump, arguing that it is now well within the powers of Trump’s legal team to continue seeking delays in his federal trials that could put them smack into the middle of election season.
Writing on X, Turley said he anticipated that Trump’s sweeping immunity claim would be rejected. However, the Republican now has “weeks” to pursue an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court and up to three months to seek a bench trial with the judges on the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C. who delivered Tuesday’s ruling.
“The question is now whether Smith will again seek to curtail the time or options for Trump in appealing this decision. Trump has weeks to file for a full en banc review. He was previously unsuccessful in that effort with the Supreme Court,” Turley wrote.
“Crunching the numbers, Trump can seek corrections in the short term but, even without a correction to the opinion, he has 45 days to seek an en banc where the government is a party. He then has 90 days after the rejection of any en banc decision. So, even without factoring in review time for the circuit, Trump could extend this process 135 days absent a successful move to expedite. The 90 day period alone would put a petition into May. Any rejection of appeals, without an expedited calendar, puts this into the summer.”
Attorneys for the 45th president have already been successful in pursuing stays in both federal criminal matters while the D.C. court heard his arguments for immunity and sought to punish Biden Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith for disregarding the freeze. If they pursue all legal avenues available, it is probable that Trump’s cases fall within 90 days of the November election, a time when the DOJ typically pauses cases against politicians out of an abundance of caution.
“After that appellate line is tied off, the parties would have to return to the trial court to resume the pre-trial work, which could take months. That puts the trial very close to the election and would raise obvious concerns given the long-standing DOJ policy to avoid trials within a few months of an election,” Turley added.