Trump Gets Major Legal News

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Regarding the allegations brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in his “hush money” investigation, former President Donald Trump received an unfavorable update. On Tuesday, a judge in New York’s appeals court dismissed Trump’s motion to postpone his trial on payments of hush money.

According to Fox News, Justice Cynthia Kern made the decision, dismissing the defense team for Trump’s claims that the trial ought to be continued until a full panel of judges could consider an appeal pertaining to the gag order.

Trump had the option to appeal to the entire panel of five appellate court judges even though Kern decided against him. It is quite improbable, though, that the court will be able to move before Monday’s trial begins. When that happens, Trump will be the first former president of the United States to be charged with a crime.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence on Tuesday in favor of keeping the gag order in place. Trump is prohibited by the order from denigrating the prosecution, the judge’s family, and the witnesses.

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In order for the Supreme Court to consider Trump’s claims of presidential immunity, the court was urged to postpone the April 15 trial date. Judge Juan Merchan of Manhattan denied the former president’s motion last Wednesday, calling it “untimely.”

“This Court finds that Defendant had myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024,” Merchan wrote. “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.” Merchan noted in his ruling that pre-trial motions are supposed to be filed within 45 days of arraignment. The former president was arraigned in Bragg’s case last April. Merchan also said that the fact that Trump had waited until “a mere 17 days prior to the scheduled trial date of March 25, 2024, to file the motion, raises real questions about the sincerity and actual purpose of the motion.”

DA Bragg filed 34 allegations against Trump alleging that he falsified financial documents related to payments of hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The issue revolves around an alleged $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, reportedly made to guarantee Daniels’ silence over an alleged encounter prior to the 2016 presidential campaign.

The trial was originally scheduled to start on March 25; Trump’s request to postpone it even longer was denied.

Payments made to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, are at the center of the issue regarding Trump and claims of hush money payments. Trump has refuted these relationships. Prior to the 2016 presidential election, the payments were made, purportedly, to stop the women’s accusations from going viral and perhaps influencing the result of the election.

Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, entered a guilty plea in 2018 to charges relating to these payments, including violations of campaign finance laws. He asserted that he coordinated the women’s payments per Trump’s orders. Cohen said that his actions were designed to safeguard Trump’s candidacy despite receiving a three-year prison sentence.

Whether or not these payments were considered unlawful campaign contributions is at the center of the legal disputes. The payments were first looked into by federal prosecutors in Manhattan as a part of a larger investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But as a result of that probe, Trump was not brought up on any charges.

The case raises intricate legal issues pertaining to presidential immunity, campaign finance regulations, and the possibility of criminal prosecution. It is a component of a larger series of legal proceedings and investigations that Trump has encountered since he left office. These include questions about his financial dealings, the policies of his government, and his activities related to the 2020 presidential election.

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