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“Case Against Trump Freezes As He Pleads to Dismiss Charges

On May 12th, 2021, Judge Louis Guirola of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi issued an order to pause the case against former President Donald Trump over his role in the January 6th Capitol insurrection. The judge put the case on hold while Trump appeals his lawsuit, which sought to have the case dismissed based on a lack of jurisdiction. Trump’s legal team had argued that Judge Guirola did not have the power to hear the case on account of Trump’s status as a former president. However, the judge did not see merit in this argument, stating that as the defendant, Trump resided in the district and “had the ability to form and be a member of the conspiracy” which was alleged to have existed. Despite this, the judge has nevertheless granted Trump’s request for a stay on proceedings until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issues a decision with respect to the appeal. The court is expected to give its opinion on whether or not the district court even had the jurisdiction to hear the case in the first place. Given the requirements of the White House’s Presidential Transition Act, the appeal will likely take at least 45 days to resolve. If the Fifth Circuit rules that Judge Guirola had no power to hear the case, then it will be dismissed, however if the court affirms the district court’s jurisdiction then the proceedings will resume in earnest. The case against Trump relates to the January 6th Capitol riot where a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building in protest of Trump’s defeat in the 2020 Presidential Election. Several people were charged with conspiracy in the wake of the incident, including Trump himself. If convicted, the former president could face jail time and significant financial penalties. Regardless of what the Fifth Circuit rules, it is certain that the case has become a hot-button issue in the United States and is sure to draw increased attention as the legal process unfolds. Only time will tell whether or not Trump will be held accountable for his actions on that fateful day in January.