Supreme Court Grants Presidential Immunity, Affecting Trump’s Hush Money Case

Supreme Court Grants Presidential Immunity, Affecting Trump’s Hush Money Case

Merely a month after a New York jury delivered a historic conviction, the guilty verdict in the hush money case involving former President Trump is now facing uncertainty due to a recent Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity.

Trump’s long-awaited criminal sentencing was scheduled for next week, but his lawyers seized upon the recent ruling as a possible basis to challenge the verdict. Shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling, Judge Juan Merchan decided to postpone the sentencing until September, causing a delay of less than 48 hours.

However, Merchan cautioned in Tuesday’s announcement that the progress will only continue if it is deemed necessary.

In a significant legal development, the Supreme Court has ruled that former presidents are granted a certain level of presumed criminal immunity for their official actions. This decision has delivered a major legal win to Trump in his ongoing criminal prosecutions. It appears highly likely that this will allow him to evade trial for his remaining charges until the November election, during which he aims to regain the White House and put a stop to his legal proceedings.

Equally significant, the ruling gives Trump additional support in his endeavors to clear his sole criminal conviction.

The main challenge lies in the fact that the Supreme Court has established a presumption that places a burden on the prosecutor. According to Cheryl Bader, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at Fordham University, the challenge is not impossible to overcome.

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In May, a New York jury reached a verdict, finding Trump guilty on all counts for providing false information in New York business records. This was in relation to the $130,000 hush money payments made to porn actor Stormy Daniels in October 2016, with the alleged intention of unlawfully influencing the presidential election that year.

Trump focuses on trial evidence to challenge 34 counts of falsifying business records. The former president argues that the jury’s verdict should be invalidated due to the inadmissibility of certain evidence, as determined by the Supreme Court’s new test.

In Monday’s decision, Chief Justice John Roberts, along with four other justices, emphasized that official acts cannot be considered as evidence, regardless of whether the charges are related to unofficial conduct.

The team representing Trump argues that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) has introduced a range of official acts as evidence, such as Trump’s call records, social media posts, government ethics form, and crucial testimony from a trusted aide, in an improper manner.

Attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove argued in a letter to the judge that the introduction of the official-acts evidence to the jury was a violation of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Specifically, the team representing the former president highlights social media posts from Trump’s presidency that were presented to jurors. These posts involve Trump criticizing Michael Cohen, who is a key witness in the trial.

The Supreme Court’s decision highlighted that the majority of a President’s public communications are likely to align with their official responsibilities, as noted by Roberts.

Reference: The Hill

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