New York judge in hush-money trial rejects Trump's request for delay until after SCOTUS rules on immunity

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The New York judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial has rejected his bid for a delay until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue of presidential immunity.

Manhattan Judge Juan M. Merchan deemed Trump’s request untimely, ruling that his lawyers had plenty of opportunities to raise the immunity issue before they did earlier this month.

"This Court finds that Defendant had myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024," Merchan wrote, adding that Trump and his lawyers could have made the argument on September 29, 2023, which he says was just six days before he made the same presidential immunity argument in Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation into Jan. 6 and election interference.

The United States Supreme Court will consider the issue of presidential immunity in Smith's case on April 25.

Merchan denied Trump's motion "in its entirety as untimely."

"The Court declines to consider whether the doctrine of presidential immunity precludes the introduction of evidence of purported official presidential acts in a criminal proceeding," Merchan wrote.

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Lawyers for the presumptive Republican nominee had asked to adjourn the New York trial indefinitely until Trump's immunity claim in his Washington, D.C., election interference case is resolved. The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments later this month and issue a ruling in mid-June.

Merchan previously chided Trump's lawyers for missing a filing deadline, waiting more than two weeks before jury selection to raise the immunity issue and failing to "explain the reason for the late filing."

Trump contends he is immune from prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office. His lawyers argue some of the evidence and alleged acts in the hush money case overlap with his time in the White House and constitute official acts.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a news conference on Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Manhattan, New York.

The trial stemming from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s years-long investigation into alleged hush-money payments ahead of the 2016 election is set to begin with jury selection on April 15. Upon setting the trial date, Merchan granted Bragg’s request for a gag order to be imposed on Trump.

The charges against Trump in the Bragg case are related to alleged hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree last year.

In 2019, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York opted not to charge Trump related to the payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The Federal Election Commission also tossed its investigation into the matter in 2021.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


Original article source: New York judge in hush-money trial rejects Trump's request for delay until after SCOTUS rules on immunity