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Judge rejects Trump effort to pause Jan. 6 civil lawsuits while criminal case ongoing

todayApril 18, 2024

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(NEW YORK) — A federal judge has rejected an effort by former President Donald Trump to pause several civil lawsuits filed against him seeking to hold him accountable for his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, according to a newly posted ruling.

Trump had asked D.C. District Judge Amit Mehta to stay proceedings in the lawsuits — brought by several members of Congress and police officers who protected the Capitol on Jan. 6 — while his federal criminal case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith was ongoing.

Trump’s attorneys reasoned that defending himself from the lawsuits could improperly impact his defense strategy in his criminal case, which Mehta rejected in his ruling Thursday afternoon.

Mehta wrote that while, “it is true in a sense—both cases center on the former President’s actions in the lead up to and on January 6, 2021… [Trump ] overstates the significance of that factual overlap in the present posture of these matters.”

Trump’s team also cited the Supreme Court’s upcoming arguments regarding the former president’s claims of immunity from prosecution in his criminal case, which they argue could impact how Mehta ultimately rules on Trump’s immunity claims for what he believes are “official acts” outlined in the civil lawsuits.

“…There is no reason to wait on the Supreme Court’s decision,” Mehta responded. “This court is unlikely to make an immunity determination before the end of the Supreme Court’s term. Thus, if the Court’s ruling on criminal immunity is relevant to the outcome here, it can easily be applied.”

Trump faces four felony charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction, in the indictment brought by Smith last year, in which prosecutors detailed what they said was his plot to remain in power after his electoral loss to President Joe Biden. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has denied any wrongdoing.

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