May 19, 2024

In the latest development regarding the multiple legal cases involving Donald Trump, lawyers for the former president are asking for the criminal case brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to be postponed until after the Supreme Court rules on the issue of presidential immunity. 

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Currently, jury selection is set to start in the case on March 25. Trump’s team isn’t contending that the case should be dismissed on the basis of presidential immunity but rather that, depending on how the Supreme Court rules on the issue, evidence of certain official acts taken by Trump may need to be excluded. The argument is that the Manhattan court should wait to begin the trial until after the Supreme Court issues its ruling so that the proper evidentiary determinations can be made. 

In court documents filed Monday, Trump’s lawyers said prosecutors have suggested they will introduce at trial “several types of evidence that implicate the concept of official acts for purposes of presidential immunity.”

Although he is not arguing presidential immunity requires his hush money charges be tossed, Trump is asserting that prosecutors should be limited from introducing certain evidence at the trial because they implicate official acts during his time in the White House.

“Therefore, President Trump respectfully submits that an adjournment of the trial is appropriate to await further guidance from the Supreme Court, which should facilitate the appropriate application of the presidential immunity doctrine in this case to the evidence the People intend to offer at trial,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in their 26-page motion.

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the presidential immunity case on April 25, and then could issue its ruling as late as the end of June. Thus, the practical effect of an adjournment of the Manhattan case, in which Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records regarding “hush money” payments made to Stormy Daniels, would be to delay its start until sometime late in the summer. 

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If I were the betting sort, my money would be on the trial judge, Juan Merchan, denying the defense team’s motion, but he could surprise me. There could well be evidentiary issues that come up at trial that would, in some manner, be affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling. The judge may opt to err on the side of caution rather than waste judicial resources on a matter that is likely to be appealed and may end up having to be retried if the Supreme Court determines the scope of presidential immunity sufficiently broad that it renders some of his evidentiary rulings erroneous. In either case, I suspect we’ll know sooner rather than later. The clock is ticking. 


RELATED: 

SCOTUS Announces the Exact Date It Will Hear Arguments in Trump Immunity Case

Jury Selection Set to Start March 25 in Donald Trump’s NY ‘Hush Money’ Trial

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