Trump seeks delay to hush money trial until presidential immunity ruling

The case centres on allegations Trump falsified his company’s internal records to hide the true nature of payments to his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Donald Trump seeks delay to hush money trial until Supreme Court makes ruling on presidential immunity claims Getty Images

Donald Trump is seeking to delay his hush money trial on March 25 until the US Supreme Court rules on the presidential immunity claims he raised in another of his criminal cases.

The Republican former president’s lawyers have asked Manhattan Judge Juan Manuel Merchan to adjourn the New York criminal trial indefinitely until Trump’s immunity claim in his Washington DC election interference case is resolved. The judge did not immediately rule.

Trump contends he is immune for 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.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on April 25, a month after the scheduled start of jury selection in Trump’s hush money case.

It is the first of his four criminal cases slated to go to trial as he closes in on the Republican presidential nomination in his quest to retake the White House.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment. Prosecutors are expected to respond to Mr Trump’s delay request in court papers later this week.

Trump first raised the immunity issue in his Washington DC criminal case, which involves allegations that he worked to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the violent riot by his supporters at the US Capitol on January 6 2021.

The hush money case centres on allegations that Trump falsified his company’s internal records to hide the true nature of payments to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who helped Trump bury negative stories during his 2016 presidential campaign. Among other things, Mr Cohen paid porn actor Stormy Daniels 130,000 dollars to suppress her claims of an extramarital sexual encounter with Trump years earlier.

Trump’s lawyers argue that some evidence Manhattan prosecutors plan to introduce at the hush money trial, including messages he posted on social media in 2018 about money paid to Mr Cohen, were from his time as president and constituted official acts.

Trump pleaded not guilty last year to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He has denied having a sexual encounter with Ms Daniels, and his lawyers argue the payments to Mr Cohen were legitimate legal expenses and not part of any cover-up.

A federal judge last year rejected Trump’s claim that allegations in the hush money indictment involved official duties, putting an end to his bid to move the case from state court to federal court.

Had the case been moved to federal court, Trump’s lawyers could have tried to get the charges dismissed on the grounds that federal officials have immunity from prosecution over actions taken as part of their official duties.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in