Trump Can’t Claim Statements About Stormy Daniels Were ‘Official Acts’

  • Trump had claimed that statements he made about Stormy Daniels were covered by “presidential immunity.”
  • On Wednesday, his secret judge disagreed.
  • The ruling allows prosecutors to share the statements with jurors and rejects Trump’s latest bid for a delay.

A Manhattan judge on Wednesday rejected Donald Trump’s request for “presidential immunity”, ruling that the effort was too little and too late.

Trump had sought to delay his secret trial and prevent jurors from seeing statements he made while president about the apparent $130,000 payment that silenced porn actor Stormy Daniels just 11 days old before the 2016 elections.

The Republican frontrunner had hoped to delay the start date of the secret trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court had decided whether presidential immunity protected him in his federal election interference case; Oral arguments in the case are set for April 25.

But Trump did not explain why he waited until early last month to waive presidential immunity in a pretrial motion in his hush money case, according to the judge’s ruling Wednesday. of State Supreme Court, Juan Merchan.

State law generally requires such motions to be filed within 45 days of arraignment, Merchan noted, calling Trump’s apology for the late motion “inadequate and unpersuasive.”

Trump had blamed the timing of his request on prosecutors and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Feb. 28 decision to hear his requests for federal presidential immunity.

Even so, Trump has been informed for months that prosecutors in the secrecy case intended to use statements he made while president, Merchan wrote.

“The defendant was fully aware that people were in possession of and intended to use the various statements he allegedly made on social media, in public, and in various interviews,” Merchan wrote.

“He was also fully aware that the defense of presidential immunity, even if it failed, might be open to him,” the judge wrote.

“This Court finds that Defendant had innumerable opportunities to raise his claim for presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024,” when Trump’s lawyers raised the issue, the judge wrote.

“The defendant’s motion is DENIED in its entirety as inappropriate,” the judge’s decision concludes.

“The Court declines to consider whether the doctrine of presidential immunity precludes the introduction of evidence of alleged official presidential acts into a criminal proceeding,” the ruling said.

Trump had specifically sought to prevent jurors from hearing about what prosecutors call his “pressure campaign” to prevent his then-personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, from cooperating with a federal investigation into the payments.

A tweet that Donald Trump hopes to exclude from his secret trial for reasons of

A tweet that Donald Trump had hoped to exclude from his secret trial by invoking “presidential immunity”.

Business Insider

A tweet that Donald Trump hopes to exclude from his secret trial for reasons of

Tweets that Donald Trump hoped to exclude from his secret trial by invoking “presidential immunity”.

Business Insider

The defense had also claimed that Trump was acting in his role as president on April 5, 2018, when he denied knowledge of the secret payment while speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One.

“So why did Michael Cohen do this if his allegations were unfounded?” » asked a journalist.

“Well, you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my lawyer,” Trump said.

Asked if he knew where Michael Cohen got the money to make the payment, Trump replied, “No, I don’t know.”

Trump was acting “in his official capacity as the nation’s chief executive” when he made the statements, Trump’s lawyers Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche argued.

“Therefore, President Trump respectfully submits that an adjournment of the trial is appropriate pending further guidance from the Supreme Court, which should facilitate the proper application of the doctrine of presidential immunity in this case to the evidence that the people intend to present at trial.” their file says.

The secret trial remains on track for jury selection on April 15.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg claims Trump falsified 34 business documents to disguise the payment to Daniels as legal fees. The falsifications violated campaign finance regulations and tax laws, Bragg alleged.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and says the allegations are part of a politically motivated “witch hunt.” He also denied having a sexual relationship with Daniels.

He faces between no jail time and four years in prison if convicted, although legal experts say jail time is unlikely.

Trump has one last card up his sleeve. Merchan has yet to rule on defense arguments that Trump cannot get a fair trial in Manhattan anytime in April because of “damaging pretrial publicity.”


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