The trial date was originally set for March 4, but the case was paused as a federal appeals court considers arguments from Trump that he should be immune from prosecution because of his role as president leading up to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. The appeals court has yet to issue a ruling on the matter of immunity.
Though not official until US District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s order Friday, it became increasingly less likely that the March trial date would hold. In January, Trump’s team complained that prosecutors were continuing to submit court filings despite the case’s pause, and Chutkan warned Smith’s team that they should not continue without her permission.
The delay is a win for the former president, who has repeatedly worked to delay the trial until after the 2024 presidential election, but it isn’t yet clear if he’ll be successful in holding off the trial until after November’s vote.
Two Trump advisers told CNN that the former president’s team will continue to push for further delays and that its key focus in the latest court order is that Chutkan has not set a new trial date.
A delay was also anticipated by the parties and even court officials – especially as each day has gone by without a ruling from the DC Circuit on presidential immunity. The court heard the case almost a month ago and can take weeks if not months to rule. It’s likely that the ruling from the DC Circuit will be appealed to the Supreme Court.
As part of her order Friday, Chutkan also said that the prospective jurors, who had been asked to appear in court next week to fill out a written questionnaire, would no longer have to do so.
“The court will set a new schedule if and when the mandate is returned,” Chutkan wrote in the order.
Trump faces four counts from special counsel Jack Smith’s election subversion charges, including conspiring to defraud the United States and to obstruct an official proceeding. The former president has pleaded not guilty.
The federal case against Trump had been set to begin first among the criminal indictments he faces.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is set to take Trump to trial in late March for allegedly falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.
Trump’s team, as well as legal experts, view the hush money case as much weaker than the others, the former president’s advisers told CNN. The campaign feels that having the Bragg trial go first will help them set the stage for their core argument that these trials are purely political and designed to hurt his chances in a general election, the advisers added.
Court proceedings in his case around the handling of documents after the presidency at Mar-a-Lago currently are focused around the use of classified evidence in the case. A trial is on the schedule for late May but may need to be moved back because of those proceedings.
The Mar-a-Lago documents case judge, Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee in south Florida, has left open the possibility of revisiting the trial schedule at a hearing March 1.
The state-level judge presiding over Trump’s 2020 election conspiracy in Georgia has yet to set a trial date.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Alayna Treene contributed to this report.