Trump loses late bid to delay New York hush money trial

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks after attending a wake for New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed while making a routine traffic stop on March 25 in the Far Rockaway section of Queens, in Massapequa Park, New York, U.S., March 28, 2024. 

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

A judge on Wednesday rejected a last-ditch effort by former president Donald Trump to delay his hush money trial scheduled to begin in New York on April 15.

Trump had asked Judge Juan Merchan to postpone the trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on where he has presidential immunity in another criminal case in Washington, D.C. federal court, which is related to his efforts to reverse President Joe Biden‘s victory in the 2020 election.

Merchan, in shooting down that request, said Trump had “myriad opportunities” to make an argument that he was immune in the hush money case before March 7, when his attorneys first raised that claim.

“Defendant’s motion is DENIED as untimely,” Merchan wrote in his decision.

The judge also wrote that he declined to consider whether the doctrine of presidential immunity precludes the introduction of evidence by prosecutors of purportedly official presidential acts at the trial.

Those acts include statements Trump made on social media and in interviews about witnesses in the case— his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, and the porn star Stormy Daniels — when he was president from 2017 to early 2021.

Trump is charged in the Manhattan Supreme Court case with falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony counts.

Trump’s then-lawyer Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence about an alleged one-time sexual tryst with Trump a decade earlier, to avoid her damaging his chances of winning the White House.

Trump denies having sex with Daniels.

in his ruling, Merchan wrote that Trump’s lawyers “fail to explain why Defendant waited long past” a statutory deadline of 45 days before trial to make a pre-trial motion seeking a delay.

The trial had been scheduled to begin on March 25, but Merchan postponed it.

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