The ruling on Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Washington rejecting former President Donald J. Trump’s claims of immunity against charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election was a significant defeat for Mr. Trump. And it was a win for Jack Smith, the special counsel, who has been trying to keep the case moving along at a pace that would allow it to go to trial well before Election Day.
But what happens next will have a substantial impact on the pressing question of when Mr. Trump will face a jury in the case. And that answer could, in turn, go a long way in determining the timing of the other three criminal prosecutions brought against him.
Here is a look at how things could play out.
Which court will Trump appeal to now?
While a spokesman for Mr. Trump’s campaign confirmed that he intended to challenge the appeals court panel’s decision, it remains unclear whether he will ask the Supreme Court to hear the case directly or take an intermediate step and first ask the full appeals court to consider it.
Normally, asking for review by the full appeals court would be a step that would eat up additional time and help to delay the start of a trial — a strategy that Mr. Trump has pursued from the very beginning of the election interference case.
But in its ruling, the three-judge panel of the court included a provision that seemed designed to speed things up and encourage Mr. Trump to take his immunity challenge directly to the Supreme Court.
The panel said that Mr. Trump had until Monday to ask the Supreme Court to get involved in the case and continue a stay of all of the underlying proceedings. The case was initially put on hold by the trial judge in December.
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