WASHINGTON — The special counsel prosecuting Donald Trump on federal charges involving the former president’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss urged the US Supreme Court on Wednesday to reject Mr. Trump’s bid to further delay trial proceedings as he presses his claim of immunity.

“The nation has a compelling interest in seeing the charges brought to trial,” Special Counsel Jack Smith said in his filing to the justices, adding that “the public interest in a prompt trial is at its zenith where, as here, a former president is charged with conspiring to subvert the electoral process so that he could remain in office.”

Mr. Smith’s filing responded to a request by Trump’s lawyers on Monday to put on hold a decision by a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejecting the claim of presidential immunity from prosecution.

If the justices do not immediately reject Mr. Trump’s request, Mr. Smith asked that they take up the case and hear it on a fast-track basis.

Mr. Smith said Mr. Trump’s criminal charges reflect an alleged effort to “perpetuate himself in power and prevent the lawful winner of the 2020 presidential election from taking office. The charged crimes strike at the heart of our democracy.”

“A president’s alleged criminal scheme to overturn an election and thwart the peaceful transfer of power to his successor should be the last place to recognize a novel form of absolute immunity from federal criminal law,” Mr. Smith added.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked the justices to halt the trial proceedings pending their bid for the full slate of judges on the D.C. Circuit to reconsider the case, and, if necessary, an appeal to the Supreme Court. Mr. Smith told the justices that granting such a request would serve only to unnecessarily postpone Mr. Trump’s trial.

Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joseph R. Biden, who defeated him in 2020, in the Nov. 5 US election. If the Supreme Court grants Mr. Trump’s requests or otherwise does not act quickly to resolve the case, the trial could be pushed to late in the campaign or after the election.

Mr. Trump, who served in the White House from 2017 to 2021 and has become the first former president to be criminally prosecuted, has made sweeping claims of immunity both while in office and since leaving the White House.

The Supreme Court in December declined Smith’s request to decide the immunity claim even before the D.C. Circuit ruled — a bid by the special counsel to speed up the process of resolving the matter. The justices opted instead to let the lower appeals court rule first, as is customary.

Mr. Smith was appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland in 2022 to investigate Trump’s actions in the aftermath of the 2020 election and his retention of classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021. Mr. Smith brought charges against Mr. Trump concerning both issues.

A March 4 trial date for Mr. Trump in federal court in Washington on four criminal counts pursued by Mr. Smith in the election subversion case was postponed, with no new date yet set. Mr. Trump has pleaded not guilty and has sought to portray the case as politically motivated.

Slowing the case could be to Trump’s benefit. If he wins the election and returns to the White House, he could use his presidential powers to force an end to the prosecution or potentially pardon himself for any federal crimes.

Mr. Trump has appealed a decision by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Dec. 1 rejecting his bid to dismiss the case. Ms. Chutkan found no legal support for the position argued by Mr. Trump’s lawyers that former presidents cannot face criminal charges for conduct related to their official responsibilities.

The charges, brought by Smith in August 2023, represent one of four criminal cases now pending against Mr. Trump.

In their filing to the Supreme Court, Mr. Trump’s lawyers said a months-long criminal trial of Mr. Trump during “at the height of election season will radically disrupt” his ability to campaign against Biden. They painted a dark picture of what they said would befall future presidents if Mr. Trump’s prosecution is permitted to move forward, warning of partisan prosecutions, extortion, blackmail and more.

Mr. Trump and his allies made false claims that the 2020 election was stolen and devised a plan to use false electors to thwart congressional certification of Mr. Biden’s victory. Mr. Trump also sought to pressure Vice President Mike Pence not to allow certification to go forward. Mr. Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol in a bid to prevent the certification.

The indictment accused Mr. Trump of conspiring to defraud the United States, obstructing the congressional certification of Biden’s electoral victory and conspiring to do so, and conspiring against right of Americans to vote. — Reuters