Trump loses bid to delay hush money trial until US Supreme Court review

Trump loses bid to delay hush money trial until US Supreme Court review
Trump loses bid to delay hush money trial until US Supreme Court review

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A New York judge yesterday denied Donald Trump’s bid to delay his April 15 trial on charges stemming from hush money paid to a porn star until the US Supreme Court reviews claim to presidential immunity in a separate criminal case. ― Reuters file pic

NEW YORK, April 4 — A New York judge yesterday denied Donald Trump’s bid to delay his April 15 trial on charges stemming from hush money paid to a porn star until the US Supreme Court reviews claim to presidential immunity in a separate criminal case.

The Court is scheduled to hear the former US President’s arguments that he is immune from federal prosecution for trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat to Democratic President Joe Biden on April 25.

His defence lawyers in the New York case in March asked Justice Juan Merchan to delay the trial until that review was complete, arguing it was relevant because prosecutors were seeking to present evidence of statements Trump made while he was president from 2017 to 2021.

In a court ruling yesterday, Merchan said Trump had waited too long to raise the issue.

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“Defendant had myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024,” Merchan wrote.

Todd Blanche, a lawyer for Trump, declined to comment.

Trump, the Republican candidate to challenge Biden in the Nov. 5 election, has pleaded not guilty in each of the four criminal indictments he faces.

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The New York case could be the only one to go to trial before the election.

He is accused of falsifying business records to cover up his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s US$130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels for her silence before the 2016 election about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in 2006.

Trump denies any such encounter with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Trump is also seeking a delay on the basis that a deluge of news coverage of the case has led potential jurors to believe he is already guilty. Merchan has not yet ruled on that request.

Prosecutors with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, which charged Trump in 2023, opposed that request in a court filing made public yesterday.

They argued that Trump himself had generated much of the news coverage, and that they would be able to weed out biased jurors through the jury selection process.

The Supreme Court’s decision to take up Trump’s appeal in the federal election interference case was a major victory for him, delaying the trial’s start by months at least.

He also faces a state case in Georgia over his efforts to reverse the 2020 election results, as well as a federal case in Florida over his handling of sensitive government documents after leaving office in 2021. Those cases also lack firm trial dates.

No US president has ever faced a criminal trial. — Reuters

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