Trump Wants NY ‘Hush Money’ Trial Delayed Until SCOTUS Rules on Immunity Claims

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


Former President Donald Trump is making a big move in court to postpone his New York “hush money” trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides on his claims of presidential immunity in a different criminal case.

Trump’s legal team requested that Manhattan Judge Juan Manuel Merchan postpone the criminal trial in New York indefinitely, pending the resolution of Trump’s claim of immunity in his Washington, D.C., election interference case.

In response to accusations that he engaged in official acts while in office, Trump maintains his immunity from prosecution. His attorneys contend that certain facts and purported actions in the hush money lawsuit coincide with his tenure in the White House and qualify as official acts.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 25, the Los Angeles Times noted.

This is one month after the jury selection process for Trump’s hush money case was supposed to begin. In his pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination and a chance to retake the White House, this will be the first of his four criminal cases to go to trial.

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The district attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment. Later this week, prosecutors should reply to Trump’s request for a delay in court documents.

The first instance in which Trump brought up the immunity issue was in his criminal case in Washington. There are claims that in the lead-up to his supporters’ violent uprising at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, he attempted to have the results of the 2020 election overturned.

Feb. 15, 2024: A judge sets a March trial date in the Trump hush-money case in New York.

The allegations at the heart of the hush money case are that Trump fabricated internal company documents to conceal the true nature of payments made to his former attorney, Michael Cohen, who assisted Trump in dispelling unfavorable reports during his 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen gave porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000, among other things, to silence her about her claims that she had an adulterous relationship with Trump years prior.

Trump’s attorneys contend that certain evidence, such as posts he made on social media in 2018 regarding payments made to Cohen, dates back to his administration and represents official acts, which Manhattan prosecutors intend to present during the hush money trial.

In response to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, Trump entered a not-guilty plea last year. Daniels’ real name is Stephanie Clifford. He has denied ever having a sexual encounter with her.

According to his attorneys, Cohen’s payments were just reasonable legal fees and had nothing to do with any sort of cover-up.

Last year, a federal judge dismissed Trump’s attempt to transfer the case from state to federal court, rejecting his argument that the charges in the hush money indictment involved official duties.

If the matter had been transferred to a federal court, Trump’s attorneys may have argued that the accusations should be dropped since federal employees are exempt from prosecution for actions they take while performing their official duties.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein stated in a July letter that “the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the matter was purely a personal item of the President—a cover-up of an embarrassing event.”

The payment of hush money to an adult film star has nothing to do with a president’s official duties. It in no way conveys the tone of the president’s official responsibilities.

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In November, Trump’s attorneys decided not to pursue an appeal of Hellerstein’s decision. They claimed they were acting biasedly, which meant they were unable to have an opinion change.

Both a federal appeals court and a trial judge in Washington have rendered decisions against Trump.

However, the Supreme Court decided last month to reexamine the case, delaying the federal case in Washington and creating new uncertainty regarding when it might go to trial.

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