Turley Says SCOTUS Could Throw ‘Wrench’ Into Jack Smith’s Case Against Trump

[Screenshot/Fox News]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley warned the U.S. Supreme Court could throw a “wrench” into Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case against former President Donald Trump.

The nine justices are set to hear oral arguments Thursday regarding Trump’s claim that he holds “absolute immunity” from criminal prosecution based on the actions he took while he held executive office. Smith charged Trump in early August with four counts of allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election on January 6, 2021.

Turley cast doubt the court will grant Trump complete immunity, but the justices’ possibly “nuanced” approach to the matter could send the case back to the lower courts and prevent a trial from happening before the 2024 election.

“They may be as disturbed by the sweeping character of the lower court decision as they are of the sweeping arguments of immunity,” Turley said. “This is an incrementalist court, and I think they’re gonna recognize that a president does need some protection. But keep in mind, if this court comes up with a more nuanced approach, it would still likely have to send this back. If it does that, it throws a real wrench into the works for Special Counsel Jack Smith. It would seem almost impossible at that point for him to have a trial before the election and if Trump is reelected, Jack Smith may never see a jury in either of these cases.”

A three-judge panel at The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Trump’s immunity claims in a Feb. 6 decision. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the presidential immunity case Feb. 28. (RELATED: ‘De Facto Immune’: MSNBC Legal Analyst Says Supreme Court Has ‘Given A Win For Trump’) 

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the panel wrote. “Former President Trump lacked any lawful discretionary authority to defy federal criminal law and he is answerable in court for his conduct.”

The trial for the case was initially set to begin in December, but District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan paused due to the appeal. The judge later vacated the March 4 date, noting the court would “set a new schedule if and when the mandate is returned.”

Smith attempted to keep the trial date in December by asking the Supreme Court to rule on the immunity question before the appeals court made its decision. The justices denied his request.