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Trump tries, fails to delay Jan. 6 civil cases pending against him

Donald Trump wants to push off the multiple Jan. 6 lawsuits he’s facing from police officers. His efforts clearly aren’t going well.

By

As this week has brought into sharp relief, Donald Trump’s principal legal problem is that he’s facing 88 criminal counts, including an ongoing criminal trial that got underway in New York City on Monday. It’s one of four pending cases against the former president across three jurisdictions.

And while these are clearly the most serious of the Republican’s legal troubles — their outcomes could, at least in theory, lead to prison sentences — the presumptive GOP nominee is simultaneously dealing with some significant civil litigation, too.

That includes several Jan. 6 cases, which Trump desperately wants to derail, or at least delay. As Politico reported yesterday, those efforts aren’t going well.

Lawsuits by members of Congress and police officers against Donald Trump for his actions on Jan. 6 may advance despite the related criminal case against him in Washington, a federal judge ruled Thursday. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta rejected Trump’s effort to pause the lawsuits until the criminal charges over his attempt to subvert the 2020 election — brought by special counsel Jack Smith — are resolved.

For those who might benefit from a refresher, in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack, among those who filed lawsuits against Trump were police officers injured during the insurrectionist violence. In fact, multiple cases were filed:

  • In March 2021, two Capitol Police officers, James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, sued Trump, claiming he was liable for the injuries they suffered during the riot.
  • In August 2021, seven more police officers who were attacked and beaten during the Capitol riot sued the former president.
  • In January 2022, three more police officers — including two who aided the evacuation of lawmakers — sued Trump, seeking damages for their physical and emotional injuries.
  • In January 2023, the longtime partner of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the Jan. 6 riot, filed a wrongful death civil suit against Trump.

The former president and his defense team have repeatedly tried to claim that Trump has “immunity” from such cases — a defense that was rejected by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December, and then again last month.

It’s against this backdrop the Republican and his lawyers have resorted to a different kind of pitch, asking that the civil cases related to Jan. 6 be delayed until after the criminal charges related to Jan. 6 are resolved. As Team Trump no doubt knows, it’s an open question as to whether there will be a criminal trial before Election Day 2024 — it’s entirely possible that there will not — so the request is to push off the civil proceedings for quite a while.

So far, this isn’t going well, raising the prospect of Jan. 6 accountability on multiple legal fronts.

This post updates our related earlier coverage.

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