Trump’s Bid to Stall Hush-Money Trial Until SCOTUS Weighs Presidential Immunity Denied

A judge on Wednesday denied Donald Trump’s last-minute effort to delay his hush-money trial until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on his presidential immunity claim in a separate case.

Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the former president’s criminal case in New York, rejected Trump’s motion to delay the start of his trial–which is scheduled for April 15–until the Supreme Court weighed in on Trump’s Washington D.C. election interference federal criminal case. While the Supreme Court may hear arguments for the issue later this month, it will likely not rule on the issue until June.

Merchan called the request “untimely” and criticized Trump attorneys for waiting until March to file such a request.

“The court finds that the defendant has myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024,” he concluded in his ruling.

“Defendant could have done so in his omnibus motions on September 29, 2023, which were filed a mere six days before he briefed the same issue in his Federal Insurrection Matter and several months after he brought his motion for removal to federal court on May 4, 2023.”

Trump had also requested the exclusion of any official communications from his time in the White House from being entered into evidence in his Manhattan case. Lawyers for the former president argued some of the evidence in that case overlaps with his time in the White House and therefore constitutes constitutional acts. Merchan said he is under no obligation to consider the question of whether Trump’s so-called presidential immunity would prevent the admittance of certain evidence.

It isn’t clear what communications Trump is referring to, as the alleged payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels would have been made prior the 2016 election. Trump is charged in connection to reimbursement payments to then-attorney Michael Cohen, who had paid the adult film star. Trump has denied all wrongdoing, and pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records.

On Monday, Judge Merchan expanded a gag order against Trump, after the former president continued his relentless posting about the judge’t daughter.