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 March 13, 2024

Trump attorneys request delay in New York case while Supreme Court mulls presidential immunity

Former President Donald Trump is petitioning the court to delay his New York trial while the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue of presidential immunity, the Associated Press reported. Jury selection for the hush money trial is set to begin on March 25. 

Attorneys for the former president, who is likely to be the GOP 2024 presidential nominee, asked Manhattan Judge Juan Manuel Merchan to suspend the trial indefinitely. The court is looking into whether presidential immunity applies in his Washington, D.C. case.

Prosecutors there allege election interference and the possible role Trump played in the Jan. 6, 2021, protests at the U.S. Capitol. Attorneys believe that if immunity exists in that case, a similar argument can be made considering that he was president during some of New York's claims.

Merchan has not ruled on whether to delay the trial pending the underlying question. However, he chastised Trump's attorneys for filing this immunity claim so late when they didn't "explain the reason for the late filing."

New York's Case Against Trump

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has accused Trump of making hush money payments without proper accounting, Fox News reported. Bragg's indictment said that Trump "repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election."

Trump allegedly directed $130,000 to be paid to former porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their previous relationship as he was preparing for his 2016 presidential run. Bragg is attempting to claim that Trump's designation of that payment outside of the campaign is a crime.

The former president has pleaded not guilty and attempted to have the case dismissed completely. Merchan denied that request in February, thus allowing the trial to go forward.

Notably, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have already weighed in on this issue. In 2019, they looked at the evidence and elected not to charge him with any crime.

The Federal Election Commission also examined the circumstances and the payments made to Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal for any wrongdoing. The FEC similarly decided not to pursue any action against Trump.

Presidential Immunity

Even if Bragg has found merits that federal prosecutors and the FEC didn't, a ruling in favor of presidential immunity could unravel his case completely. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 25, with a ruling expected near the end of June.

Special Counsel Jack Smith's election interference case in the nation's capital could also unravel if the high court finds in Trump's favor. The former president's attorneys have argued that prosecuting a president for actions taken while in office could have a chilling effect on the power of the presidency.

They have asserted that "if the prosecution of a President is upheld, such prosecutions will recur and become increasingly common, ushering in destructive cycles of recrimination," his attorneys argued in the appeal. "Criminal prosecution, with its greater stigma and more severe penalties, imposes a far greater ‘personal vulnerability’ on the President than any civil penalty," it adds.

"The threat of future criminal prosecution by a politically opposed Administration will overshadow every future President’s official acts – especially the most politically controversial decisions." The request notes that the threat of prosecution could be used as blackmail by the next official in office, which sadly rings true considering what the left is attempting to do to Trump as a candidate.

Trump is facing the wrath of the left as it wields the power of the courts against him. At least his legal team is fighting back with strategies that could easily dismantle these shoddy cases, issue by issue.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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