WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s federal election interference trial in Washington, D.C., will no longer begin on March 4, Judge Tanya Chutkan wrote in a court order released Friday.

It is unclear when exactly the trial will now start, but the case has been on pause for nearly two months — Trump’s team requested a stay on Dec. 7, and it was granted on Dec. 13 — which would mean the soonest the trial could start would likely be late April or early May.

A start date in early May could easily mean the trial won’t conclude until after the Republican National Convention, scheduled for July 15-18 in Milwaukee.

In a previous order, Chutkan reiterated that a total of seven months was “sufficient time” for Trump to prepare for trial, not including the time the case has been on pause.

Friday’s ruling comes as the D.C. Circuit Court has not yet decided on whether the former president is immune from prosecution. A panel of federal appeals court judges heard oral arguments on Jan. 9, and the case is on an expedited schedule.

“The court will set a new schedule if and when the mandate is returned,” said the court order from Chutkan.

A lawyer for Trump and a spokesman for the special counsel both declined to comment.

There were previous hints that the March 4 start date would not go ahead as scheduled. Chutkan was set to oversee trial proceedings in a separate case on April 2, according to court schedules, which could have overlapped with Trump’s case if March 4 had still been the start date. As recently as Thursday, D.C.’s court calendar also did not list Chutkan as overseeing a case on March 4.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s office has previously estimated that the prosecution would need “no longer than four to six weeks” to present its case, and potential jurors were told the trial “may last approximately three months after jury selection is completed.”

The original March 4 trial start date put the high-profile case amid the Republican primary, just one day before voters in 16 states cast their ballots on Super Tuesday.

One of Trump’s lawyers, D. John Sauer, has argued before the D.C. Circuit Court that a president can be prosecuted for private conduct, but he says that Trump has immunity from prosecution because of the Constitution’s separation of powers principle. Sauer has said that when Trump questioned the 2020 election results and pushed for Congress to block certification, he was acting in an official capacity as president.

The president has embraced the argument in social media posts.

“A president of the United States must have full immunity, without which it would be impossible for him/her to properly function,” Trump said in a post to Truth Social in January.

The elimination of the March 4 start date increases the chances that Trump’s New York case involving allegations of hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels will be the former president’s next trial. That case is currently set to start on March 25.

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