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Trump lawyers motion to adjourn Manhattan DA trial until after SCOTUS rules on presidential immunity

Lawyers for former President Trump filed a motion Monday to adjourn the trial stemming from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s charges related to hush money payments until after the Supreme Court rules on presidential immunity. 

The trial in New York City is set to begin on March 25 with jury selection, but the former president and 2024 GOP presumptive nominee’s attorneys are requesting the trial be put on hold. 

‘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.’ 

The motion comes after Judge Juan Merchan set March 25 for jury selection and announced that the trial is expected to last six weeks.

Bragg indicted Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree in April. Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Trump and his attorneys sought to have the case dismissed altogether, but Merchan denied the request last month. 

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.’

The charges are related to alleged hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In 2019, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York opted out of charging Trump related to the payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. The Federal Election Commission also tossed its investigation into the matter in 2021.

The motion from Trump’s attorneys comes after the Supreme Court, last week, set April 25 to hear arguments on the issue of presidential immunity. A ruling on the matter is expected in late June. 

The pending question before the high court stemmed from Trump’s appeal following charges out of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case. 

By agreeing to hear arguments on the matter, the Supreme Court has paused the Smith trial altogether. That trial was initially expected to begin on March 4 – the day before Super Tuesday. 

Trump and his legal team, in requesting the Supreme Court review the issue of presidential immunity, 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.’

Smith charged the former president with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. Those charges stemmed from Smith’s investigation into whether Trump was involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and any alleged interference in the 2020 election result.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges in August.

This will be the second time this term the Supreme Court will hear a case involving the presumed Republican presidential nominee. 

Last week, the Supreme Court sided unanimously with the GOP frontrunner in his challenge to Colorado’s attempt to kick him off the 2024 primary ballot. 

The high court ruled in favor of Trump’s arguments in the case, which will impact the status of efforts in several other states to remove the likely GOP nominee from their respective ballots. 

The court considered for the first time the meaning and reach of Article 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars former officeholders who ‘engaged in insurrection’ from holding public office again. Challenges have been filed to remove Trump from the 2024 ballot in over 30 states.

In reacting to that ruling last week, Trump shifted his sights to the issue of presidential immunity. 

‘A great win for America. Very, very important!’ Trump told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview after the ruling. 

‘Equally important for our country will be the decision that they will soon make on immunity for a president – without which, the presidency would be relegated to nothing more than a ceremonial position, which is far from what the founders intended,’ Trump told Fox News Digital. ‘No president would be able to properly and effectively function without complete and total immunity.’ 

He added, ‘Our country would be put at great risk.’ 

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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