WASHINGTON — Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist refused today to postpone the scheduled July 13 perjury trial of former White House aide Michael K. Deaver.
Rehnquist said there is no urgency in holding up the trial to give federal appeals courts an opportunity to examine Deaver's attack on the constitutionality of a law creating special prosecutors to investigate top government officials.
"There will be time enough for (Deaver) to present his constitutional claim to the appellate courts if and when he is convicted of the charges against him," Rehnquist said.
Deaver, former deputy chief of staff to President Reagan, is accused of five counts of lying about his lobbying activities to Congress and to the federal grand jury that indicted him June 18.
Accused of Lying
The indictment said, among other charges, that Deaver lied to a federal grand jury when he denied contacting anyone in the government on behalf of Trans World Airlines, his first client after leaving the White House in May, 1985.
The indictment said he contacted Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole to block or delay a takeover attempt of TWA.
Deaver is the first person ever indicted under the Ethics in Government Act that created the special prosecutor, or independent counsel.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday turned down Deaver's request for a postponement of the trial.
Rehnquist said today, "In my view, there is not a fair prospect that a majority of (the Supreme) Court would find the decision below erroneous."
Deaver contends that the appointment of his special prosecutor, Whitney North Seymour Jr., violates the Constitution's separation of government powers clause.
Under the Ethics in Government Act, all special prosecutors are named by a federal court, and Deaver argues that this usurps the executive branch power of prosecution. All courts so far have refused to decide the issue.