Trump Immunity Claims Rejected by Judge in Hush Money Case

( – Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan denied a request by former president Donald Trump to postpone the start date of his “hush money” trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Trump’s claim of presidential immunity raised in another case.

Merchan said the request was “untimely” and attorneys for Trump had “myriad opportunities” to raise the issue before the last-minute motion was filed. Merchan also noted that pretrial motions should be filed within 45 days of arraignment, which occurred in April 2023. Trump’s attorneys filed the motion to postpone on March 7th, only 17 days before the originally scheduled start date of the trial. According to Merchan, this raises questions about the “sincerity and actual purpose” of the motion.

The trial was delayed due to a dispute over documents turned over by federal prosecutors. Trump’s team accused prosecutors of misconduct for failing to introduce the documents sooner. The trial is now scheduled to begin on April 15th. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the immunity case on April 25.

Trump is being charged with 34 felony counts of falsification of business records. Trump is accused of having records doctored to cover up money allegedly used to reimburse his then-attorney Michael Cohen for paying adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen allegedly paid Daniels to keep quiet about her claim of an extra-marital affair with Trump from years earlier.

Attorneys for Trump are urging Merchan to recuse himself from the case due to a “conflict of interest”. Merchan’s daughter works as a Democratic political consultant. Trump’s lawyers have also argued the trial should be delayed indefinitely to allow “prejudicial media coverage” of the case to dissipate.

The hush money trial will be the first criminal trial of a former president. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in this case and three other criminal cases.

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