Trump seeks to adjourn Manhattan hush money trial until after Supreme Court immunity ruling

By Jen Krausz on
 March 13, 2024

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump filed Monday to adjourn his Manhattan hush money trial until after the Supreme Court rules on whether he has presidential immunity, possibly in June.

"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, adding that it 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."

Judge Juan Merchan set jury selection to start on March 25 and said he expects the trial to last six weeks.

Bragg alleges that 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."

Trump denies wrongdoing

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree in the case. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A previous request to dismiss the trial altogether was denied by Merchan.

The charges are related to payments allegedly made by Trump through then-advisor Michael Cohen, although Trump says Cohen made the payments independently and that he didn't know anything about them.

Cohen says Trump did know, and that Trump paid him back after the fact.

More delays

The immunity question is in relation to a different case, Special Counsel Jack Smith's election interference case against Trump in Washington, D.C.

Trump has claimed immunity in several of the cases against him, however, so it's no surprise that he would use the Supreme Court's decision to look at the issue to delay other cases.

Smith's case in D.C. was scheduled to start on March 4, but has now been put on hold until after the immunity ruling.

It's looking doubtful that any of the criminal cases against Trump will be resolved before the 2024 election, which means he won't have to deal with any criminal convictions while campaigning.

On the other hand, most of these legal matters have only helped his popularity as his supporters decry the legitimacy of the charges and claim that prosecutors are persecuting him for his politics.

Still, polls have suggested that a conviction in a criminal case would hurt his chances of re-election, so it's in his best interest to delay as much as possible.

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