New York judge rejects Trump’s bid to delay hush-money criminal trial

Donald Trump

NEW YORK — A New York judge on Wednesday denied Donald Trump’s bid to delay his hush-money trial in Manhattan, set to begin on April 15.

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Trump had asked Judge Juan Merchan to delay the trial until the Supreme Court rules on whether he is immune from prosecution on charges involving official acts he took while president, The New York Times reported. The nation’s highest court is expected to hear arguments on the case on April 25 but may not rule until June, according to the newspaper.

In his six-page decision, Merchan wrote that the timing of the filing by Trump’s defense attorneys “raises real questions about the sincerity and actual purpose of the motion,” The Associated Press reported.

The judge’s ruling removed one of the final hurdles to the first criminal prosecution of a former U.S. president, according to the Times.

Trump’s attorneys had been granted a three-week delay in mid-March after new investigative records were revealed, the newspaper reported. But the judge denied the request for a further delay of at least 90 days -- or an outright dismissal of the case -- as Trump’s attorneys accused prosecutors of misconduct for the last-minute group of documents.

Trump’s attorneys had asked for the New York trial to be adjourned indefinitely until the former president’s immunity claim in his Washington, D.C., election interference case resolved, according to the AP. Trump has argued that he is immune from prosecution for conduct alleged to involve officials acts while he was in office as president.

Defense attorneys contend that some of the evidence in the hush money case comes from his time in the White House, thereby constituting official acts.

At a hearing in February, Merchan said that “The issue of the state proceedings, I don’t believe is for the Supreme Court.”

The hush-money case involved a deal struck with adult movie star Stormy Daniels during the final days of the 2016 presidential race, the Times reported. In a 34-count indictment last year, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg accused Trump of falsifying records that were related to the payoff of Daniels, according to the newspaper.

Todd Blanche, one of Trump’s attorneys, declined comment, the AP reported. The Manhattan district attorney’s office also declined to comment.

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