Trump’s attempt to stop the litigation on January 6th while he challenges criminal charges in the 2020 election case fails

A move by Donald Trump to put on hold a number of lawsuits alleging he instigated the assault on the US Capitol while he pursues his criminal prosecution for allegedly meddling in the 2020 election in Washington was unsuccessful on Thursday.

Defense attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington to halt the civil proceedings aimed at holding Trump accountable for the unrest on January 6, 2021, while the criminal prosecution accusing him of plotting to unseat President Joe Biden in the election proceeded. However, Mehta dismissed their motion.

This is the most recent legal setback for the presumed Republican presidential candidate. This week marked the start of jury selection in New York for his trial in a different criminal case involving payments of hush money made during the 2016 campaign. Democratic legislators and law enforcement officials who defended the Capitol on January 6 filed lawsuits, claiming they were injured in the assault and that Congress should not have certified Biden’s win.

Trump has argued that his remarks at a rally before to the Capitol storming addressed “matters of public concern” and came within the purview of absolute presidential immunity, meaning he cannot be sued over the violence that resulted in the injuries of several police officers.

In December, a federal appeals court in Washington decided that the cases may proceed, dismissing Trump’s broad assertions that his immunity from prosecution protects him from accountability. However, the court said that Trump is free to fight to demonstrate that his acts were carried out in his official role as president, as long as the lawsuits are pending.

Trump’s attorneys informed the judge in court documents submitted last month that ‘fundamental justice to criminal defendants’ justifies postponing the civil proceedings until the criminal case pertaining to the 2020 election is settled. They said that if the cases are allowed to continue, Trump could be compelled to “prematurely telegraph” his criminal defense plans.

Mehta, who was nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama, said that in addition to the criminal case, the public also has an interest in the civil actions being resolved quickly. According to the court, ‘proper protections’ may be implemented to enable the litigation to proceed without violating Trump’s Fifth Amendment privilege against being forced to testify against himself.

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over Trump’s assertion that he is not subject to criminal prosecution in relation to the election meddling case filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith. Whether Trump will go on trial in the lawsuit alleging a massive plot to keep him in office after the American people voted him out of office will depend on the outcome of the judgment.

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