Trump lawyers request Manhattan DA trial pause until after SCOTUS immunity ruling

 March 12, 2024

On Monday, attorneys for former President Trump submitted a motion to postpone the trial concerning the hush money payments-related charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg until the Supreme Court renders a decision on presidential immunity.

The trial is scheduled to commence with jury selection in New York City on March 25. However, the attorneys for the former president and presumed Republican nominee in 2024 have requested that the trial be halted, as Fox News reported.

"The Court should adjourn the trial pending Supreme Court review of the scope of the presidential immunity doctrine in Trump v. United States, which is scheduled to be argued before the Supreme Court on April 25, 2024," the motion states.

Case for Adjournment

It adds that the case should also be adjourned "following an evidentiary hearing outside the presence of the jury, preclude evidence of President Trump’s official acts at trial based on presidential immunity."

The petition is in response to Judge Juan Merchan's March 25 jury selection deadline and six-week trial schedule announcement.

Trump was charged with 34 counts of first-degree falsification of business records by Bragg in April. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all allegations. Merchan denied Trump and his counsel's request to have the case dismissed in its entirety one month ago.

Bragg's Accusations

Bragg alleged 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."

Alleged hush money payments made throughout the 2016 presidential campaign are the subject of the allegations.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York declined to file charges against Trump in 2019 in connection with the alleged payments he extended to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Additionally, in 2021, the Federal Election Commission terminated its investigation into the subject.

Trump's Motions

The motion filed by Trump's attorneys follows the Supreme Court's decision to schedule arguments on the issue of presidential immunity for April 25, which was announced last week. The matter is anticipated to be decided by the end of June.

The outstanding issue before the Supreme Court was triggered by Trump's appeal subsequent to the charges levied in the election interference case ledger by Special Counsel Jack Smith. Through its consent to hear arguments, the Supreme Court has effectively halted the Smith trial. Initially, it was planned that this trial would commence on March 4, the day prior to Super Tuesday.

Implications of the Motion

By requesting that the Supreme Court review the issue of presidential immunity, Trump and his legal team said that "if the prosecution of a President is upheld, such prosecutions will recur and become increasingly common, ushering in destructive cycles of recrimination."

"Criminal prosecution, with its greater stigma and more severe penalties, imposes a far greater ‘personal vulnerability’ on the President than any civil penalty," the request states. "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."

Trump’s request states that the president's "political opponents will seek to influence and control his or her decisions via effective extortion or blackmail with the threat, explicit or implicit, of indictment by a future, hostile Administration, for acts that do not warrant any such prosecution."

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