Donald Trump's Bid for Presidential Immunity Delay Denied in New York Trial

Donald Trump’s Bid for Presidential Immunity Delay Denied in New York Trial

Debarylife – Former President Donald Trump’s request to postpone his criminal prosecution until after the Supreme Court decides on his sweeping claim of presidential immunity was denied by a New York judge on Wednesday.

In a March court filing, Trump made this point and asked Judge Juan Merchan to postpone the trial until the Supreme Court’s decision in a related case involving allegations of federal election meddling.

Merchan, though, countered that Trump brought up the point too late. A little more than a year prior, on April 4, 2023, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg accused Trump of fabricating corporate documents. The trial is set to start on April 15.

The verdict on Wednesday stated that Merchan concluded that the defendant had numerous chances to assert presidential immunity long in advance of March 7, 2024.

Thus, despite his past success in delaying or changing the dates of his trials in prior criminal cases, Trump is expected to stand trial for the first time this month.

Donald Trump's Bid for Presidential Immunity Delay Denied in New York Trial (1)

Both Bragg’s office and Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche declined to comment.

In the case of federal election interference, the Supreme Court consented to examine the degree of immunity granted to past presidents for actions taken while in office.

About what is the case at hand?

A $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, before the 2016 presidential election is at the heart of the New York lawsuit, which asks if Trump committed a crime by falsifying company documents. Daniels promised to remain silent in return for the money.

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According to the prosecution, Trump was worried that Daniels might damage his campaign by disclosing details of an alleged sexual encounter with her, thus the timing was not coincidental. Trump disputes what she says.

Donald Trump's Bid for Presidential Immunity Delay Denied in New York Trial (2)

Subsequently, authorities claim, Trump paid Cohen back with monthly checks that were submitted as invoices for 2017 legal services and verified by fictitious invoices at the Trump Organization.

The intent to conduct or conceal another crime raises the falsification offense to a felony under New York law.

Given that Trump broke federal election laws about campaign donation caps, the prosecution claims that this applies to him. It should be mentioned that Cohen was sentenced to prison after entering a guilty plea to facilitating the payment of an unauthorized campaign contribution. Trump allegedly attempted to break tax and election laws in New York.

Why hold off till after the decision of the Supreme Court?

Since the New York court misapplied the immunity theory, Trump contended, a retrial of the case would be less likely following the Supreme Court’s examination of the extent of presidential immunity in his federal election interference case.

Oral arguments are set on April 25 at the Supreme Court, which reserves the right to decide when to make a decision.

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Nonetheless, Merchant stated on Wednesday that Trump decided to wait until much later than the 45 days given by New York law to file pre-trial papers following arraignment—the initial court appearance and plea bargaining process—before bringing up the presidential immunity defense. The day of his charges, April 4, 2023, saw Trump’s arraignment.

Merchan claimed Trump had demonstrated he knew for a long time that he could use the presidential immunity defense. Almost a year ago, on May 4, Trump attempted to have the hush money case transferred from state court to federal court. The judge pointed out that Trump had thoroughly briefed the problem in his separate federal election interference lawsuit by October 5.

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“Further, and as an aside, the fact that the Defendant waited until a mere 17 days before the scheduled trial date of March 25, 2024, to file the motion, raises real questions about the sincerity and actual purpose of the motion,” Merchan concluded. His trial was originally set for March 25 but has since been rescheduled for April 15 after Trump submitted the motion.

“The circumstances, viewed as a whole, test this Court’s credulity,” wrote Merchan.

Under the presidential immunity theory, Trump separately requested the exclusion of certain evidence from the New York case, including social media statements regarding Cohen’s payments and willingness to assist prosecutors.

The posts on his Twitter account, he said in a court filing, protected official activities since they were an official White House vehicle used for doing business.

Merchan countered that he wouldn’t evaluate the argument’s merits in light of the timing issue.

Merchant said in a footnote that Trump did not seem to be contending that the President’s immunity would be raised by the underlying alleged facts supporting the accusations in the hush money case, such as Cohen’s payment to Daniels or record-keeping at the Trump Organization.

“Defendant’s motion is DENIED in its entirety as untimely,” stated Merchan.

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