The US Supreme Court has declined, for now, to decide whether former President Donald Trump has immunity from prosecution for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election.
Mr Trump's efforts to delay his trial appear to be working, as the case must now wind through the appeals process.
Special counsel Jack Smith had asked the court to take up the case in an expedited manner.
Mr Trump was indicted on election subversion charges earlier this year.
The court did not explain its decision, instead issuing an unsigned order saying that Mr Smith's petition "is denied".
The ruling is a setback for Mr Smith, who had asked the Supreme Court to intervene early for fear that the appeals process could delay the start of Mr Trump's trial, which was scheduled to begin on 4 March in Washington DC.
Mr Smith's office declined to comment on the ruling.
Mr Trump is being investigated for his alleged attempts to overturn the election leading up to the 6 January Capitol riot.
This delay marks a procedural victory for the former president, as his legal team appears intent on postponing the trial for as long as possible.