Trump hush-money trial: judge postpones sentencing to September – The Guardian US

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

Trump hush-money trial: judge postpones sentencing to September – The Guardian US

Judge Juan Merchan agrees to pause proceedings to weigh whether immunity ruling could imperil conviction
The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s criminal case in New York postponed his sentencing to 18 September, agreeing on Tuesday to pause proceedings to weigh whether the US supreme court’s recent ruling on immunity could imperil the conviction.
The decision by Judge Juan Merchan to delay the sentencing marks an unexpected setback for the case. It remains unclear whether it will affect what sentence Trump receives given the date is only weeks before the 2024 election.
Trump became the first president to be criminally convicted last month when a Manhattan jury found him guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in an illicit hush-money scheme to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The sentencing had been scheduled for 11 July – days before the start of the Republican national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was set to formally be named the GOP nominee for president – after his own lawyers requested that timetable.
But the expected sentencing date was cast into doubt after Trump’s lawyers asked to have the case re-evaluated, and the sentencing postponed, in light of the supreme court’s decision on Monday that conferred broad immunity on former presidents for official acts undertaken in office.
The supreme court held that core executive functions of the presidency have absolute immunity from prosecution, official acts of the presidency are presumptively immune, and unofficial acts carry no immunity.
Trump’s criminal prosecution in New York was largely centered on his efforts to suppress negative stories during the 2016 election campaign and pre-dated his time in office, though some of the evidence at trial included personal actions Trump took while he was president.
The motion to set aside Trump’s conviction could struggle.
Trump actually raised the official acts argument before his New York trial, asking for certain tweets that Trump sent as president to be suppressed. Merchan denied the motion, ruling that Trump had filed it too close to trial.
The Trump legal team would need to be able to show that not only were the tweets examples of official acts – the supreme court held that presidents making communications to the public are a function of the office – that could not be used as evidence at trial, but that Merchan was wrong on the timeliness matter.
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In a letter to the judge responding to Trump’s request, prosecutors wrote that the Manhattan district attorney’s office did not oppose Trump’s request.
“Although we believe defendant’s arguments to be without merit, we do not oppose his request for leave to file and his putative request to adjourn sentencing pending determination of his motion,” wrote Joshua Steinglass, one of the lead prosecutors who secured Trump’s conviction.

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