Trump Asks for Postponement of Hush Money Trial Pending Supreme Court’s Review of Presidential Immunity Claim

On Monday, former President Donald Trump made a request to postpone his ongoing criminal case, which accuses him of paying hush money to a porn star, until the US Supreme Court completes its examination of his assertion of presidential immunity in a separate legal matter.

The inaugural criminal trial involving a former US president is scheduled to commence on March 25, set to take place in a New York state court located in Manhattan. Trump has entered a plea of not guilty to 34 charges related to falsification of business records.

According to prosecutors, Trump allegedly instructed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to pay $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to maintain silence regarding a purported sexual encounter dating back to the mid-2000s, preceding the 2016 election. Prosecutors assert that Trump then inaccurately recorded his reimbursement to Cohen as legal expenditures. Trump refutes any involvement in the encounter with Daniels.

In the court documents, Trump’s legal team argued that the Supreme Court’s review outcome held significance for the hush money case, as prosecutors aimed to utilize statements Trump made during his presidency as evidence.

Trump has endeavored to postpone the four impending criminal trials he confronts until after his November 5 election rematch with President Joe Biden. Despite his efforts, he has been unsuccessful in outright bdismissing them.

In the previous month, Trump secured a victory when the Supreme Court granted his request to hear, in late April, his assertion of immunity from federal prosecution concerning efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election. The Supreme Court’s hearing will postpone the commencement of any trial linked to the charges by several months.

Additionally, the Supreme Court upheld Trump’s placement on Colorado’s primary ballot, dismissing an attempt to disqualify him the day before the primary.

Trump has dismissed the criminal cases as politically driven and “election interference,” maintaining a plea of not guilty for all accusations.

During February, prosecutors stated their intention to present evidence of a “pressure campaign” by Trump in 2018 to prevent Cohen from cooperating with a federal inquiry into the payment to Daniels. Cohen admitted guilt that year for violating campaign finance laws.

In their recent court submission, Trump’s legal team denounced the prosecutors’ assertion of a pressure campaign as “fabricated.” They argued that Trump’s social media statements regarding Cohen constituted “official communications” on “publicly significant matters,” and therefore should be shielded from state prosecution.

“Without immunity from criminal prosecution based on official acts, the President’s political opponents will seek to influence and control his or her decisions via de facto extortion,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

Trump made a similar argument last year in an attempt to move the case from state to federal court. When the attempt was denied in July 2023, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein wrote that the payment to Daniels “was a purely personal item.”

“Hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to a President’s official acts,” Hellerstein wrote.