Judge Rejects Donald Trump’s Actions

The judge presiding over the trial of Donald Trump’s hush money case criticized the former president’s efforts to postpone the proceedings.

In court proceedings, Judge Juan Merchan voiced his criticism regarding the timing of the request made by Trump’s legal team to delay the New York trial scheduled for March 25. This trial involves Trump facing 34 charges, while the Supreme Court deliberates on whether the former president can assert absolute immunity.

The Context

Trump maintains his innocence and denies any wrongdoing in connection with the alleged “hush money” arrangement. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges pertaining to the payment his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The purpose of the payment was to allegedly keep her alleged affair with Trump hidden from the public prior to the 2016 election. In his company records, Trump categorized the payment to Cohen as “legal fees.”

In the ongoing investigation led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, Trump is set to stand trial in federal court for his alleged criminal endeavors to overturn the 2020 election results. The former president has sought to dismiss the election obstruction case, arguing for absolute immunity based on his time in the White House. The Supreme Court will evaluate the claims of immunity defense in April, as they prepare to hear the arguments.

What We Know

Trump’s legal team has not argued for the dismissal of the falsifying business records trial based on the immunity claim. Instead, they contend that certain evidence should be excluded from the court proceedings if the Supreme Court rules in his favor.

The former president’s lawyers have argued that the prosecution intends to present evidence pertaining to Trump’s tenure in office. This includes the tweets that Trump posted on Twitter, now referred to as X, in 2018, regarding Cohen.

Merchan criticized the request to postpone the trial for falsifying business records, expressing his disapproval shortly before the proceedings were set to begin.

The judge has also mandated that the former president must obtain permission before submitting any further motions prior to the commencement of the trial on March 25th.

Merchan criticized the defendant for not providing any explanation for the late filing, which occurred just two and a half weeks before the commencement of jury selection.

The parties must now seek permission from the Court before submitting any further motions before March 25, 2024.

According to Merchan, parties will be required to submit a concise one-page letter to the courts in the future. This letter should clearly outline the grounds for the motion and the desired outcome. If the opposing party wishes to respond, they will be given a single day to do so.

Trump’s legal team has been reached out to by Newsweek for comment via email.

Views

Lisa Rubin, a lawyer and legal analyst for MSNBC, recently shared her insights on the current developments in the trial of former President Donald Trump. According to Rubin, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been given a deadline of March 13th to respond to Trump’s motion to adjourn the trial based on immunity grounds. The response from the DA’s office will be crucial in determining the next steps in the trial. Judge Merchan, who is presiding over the case, has expressed his frustration with the delay in proceedings.

Both sides must now seek his permission before filing any additional motions prior to the start of the trial on March 25th. This is definitely going to be a challenge.

What’s Next

The decision on whether to postpone the trial on March 25 due to Trump’s immunity claim is still pending from Merchan. However, it is unlikely that he will grant the delay.

Oral arguments in the federal election obstruction trial regarding Trump’s immunity defense claim are scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court on April 22.

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