Trump seeks to set aside hush money conviction

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Donald Trump’s lawyers have asked the judge to delay his New York sentencing.
Donald Trump’s lawyers have asked the judge to delay his New York sentencing.

Donald Trump’s lawyers have asked the New York judge who presided over his hush money trial to set aside his conviction and delay his sentencing scheduled for later this month.

The letter to Judge Juan M. Merchan citing the US Supreme Court’s ruling earlier on Monday, asked him to delay Trump’s sentencing while he weighs the high court’s decision and how it could influence the New York case, according to the letter obtained by The Associated Press.

The lawyers argue that the Supreme Court’s decision confirmed a position the defence raised earlier in the case that prosecutors should have been precluded from introducing some evidence they said constituted official presidential acts, according to the letter.

In prior court filings, Trump contended he is immune from prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.

Trump’s lawyers did not raise that as a defence in the hush money case, but they argued that some evidence – including Trump’s social media posts about former lawyer Michael Cohen – comes from his time as US president and should have been excluded from the trial because of immunity protections.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for the first time that former presidents have broad immunity from prosecution, extending the delay in the Washington criminal case against Trump on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss.

Judge Juan M. Merchan
Trump’s lawyers sent their letter to Judge Juan M. Merchan. (AP PHOTO)

Trump was convicted in New York of 34 counts of falsifying business records, arising from what prosecutors said was an attempt to cover up a hush money payment just before the 2016 presidential election.

Merchan instituted a policy in the run-up to the trial requiring both sides to send him a one-page letter summarising their arguments before making longer court filings.

He said he did that to better manage the docket, so he was not inundated with voluminous paperwork.

AP