Trump Raises Presidential Immunity Ruling as Manhattan DA Agrees to Delay Sentencing

The defense is arguing that prejudicial statements related to the former president’s official acts in office were presented by the district attorney at trial.

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump are moving to throw out the New York criminal trial, reopening arguments of presidential immunity after the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on the matter on July 1.

Prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office on July 2 agreed to a delay in the sentencing date, which will ultimately be decided by the judge, in order to have time to file their opposition to the immunity arguments.

“The verdicts in this case violate the presidential immunity doctrine and create grave risks of ‘an Executive Branch that cannibalizes itself,’” defense attorneys wrote in a July 1 letter to New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, seeking permission to file a motion to throw out the verdict by July 10, one day before the scheduled sentencing hearing.

In New York, former President Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree and a jury returned a guilty verdict in May. The 34 documents that were found to be falsified were created in 2017, while President Trump was in office, though his attorneys are not arguing that the Trump Organization checks the president signed were official duties.

Argument Over Official Acts

In March, defense attorneys moved to limit the scope of evidence in the New York case to exclude the president’s official acts. Justice Merchan had denied the motion as “untimely,” doubting the defense’s good faith basis. The judge found that the defense could have filed the motion when they sought to remove the case to federal court, or by the deadline for motions to limit evidence used at trial, or when they sought to dismiss the former president’s federal criminal case in the District of Columbia based on presidential immunity.

Defense attorneys said the judge ruled incorrectly and explained that the deadlines he spoke of did not apply to motions to preclude evidence. The judge responded that he could rule on objections based on presidential immunity during the trial.

Now the defense is arguing that despite the objections, prejudicial statements and evidence were presented by the district attorney at trial.

Prosecutors described an event in the Oval Office as “devastating” and introduced statements by the president and witness testimony about working for the president in the White House, the defense argued.

“This official-acts evidence should never have been put before the jury,” defense attorneys argued.

The Supreme Court held that a president “may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled, at a minimum, to a presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts.” Prosecutors would have to rebut the presumptive immunity for official acts before he could be charged for them.

Prosecutors, in a brief letter, noted that they believed the new argument to throw out the verdict is meritless, and requested the customary two weeks to file a response to the defense’s motion. If the judge grants the requests, the Trump attorneys would file their motion July 10 and prosecutors would file a response by July 24, delaying the sentencing for at least two weeks.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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