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Trump Asks for Hush-Money Trial Delay Pending Ruling

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump asked for his New York state hush-money criminal trial to be delayed, citing his pending immunity appeal slated to be heard by the US Supreme Court next month.

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The former president is scheduled to go on trial March 25 on charges he falsified business records to conceal payments he made to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election to bury her claims about an extramarital affair a decade earlier.

Trump on Monday asked Judge Juan Merchan, who’s presiding over the hush-money case, to delay the trial until after the Supreme Court rules on his bid for immunity from federal election interference charges. Justices hear arguments in the case on April 25 but may not rule until June.

Merchan, in a ruling made public late Monday, said the deadline for motions was Feb. 22 and that Trump “does not explain the reason for the late filing, a mere two and a half weeks before jury selection is set to begin.” The judge gave prosecutors until March 13 to file a response, but he also directed that any lawyer who seeks to file any additional motions must get his permission first.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office didn’t immediately return a voicemail or email seeking comment about Trump’s request.

Trump is making the immunity appeal in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case involving the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election result. Trump argues that he should be immune from prosecution for actions he took under his duties as president. That trial has been put on hold until the high court decides.

The Washington case is one of four criminal prosecutions Trump is facing, including a similar election case under state law in Georgia. Trump is also awaiting a trial date on federal charges in Florida for mishandling of classified records and obstructing efforts of government officials to retrieve those materials.

Read more: Supreme Court Immunity Case Jeopardizes Trump Trial Pre-Election

Trump’s lawyers in the case, Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche, argue that he is protected from the state charges as well because much of the evidence was gathered in 2017, when he was serving as president.

“An adjournment of the trial is appropriate to await further guidance from the Supreme Court, which should facilitate the appropriate application of the presidential immunity doctrine in this case to the evidence the people intend to offer at trial,” Trump’s lawyers said.

Prosecutors recently argued they should be permitted to offer evidence at trial concerning a “pressure campaign” by Trump in 2018 relating to Michael Cohen, who was Trump’s former lawyer and is scheduled to be the state’s star witness at the trial.

(Updates with comments by judge in court filing. A previous version of the story was corrected to clarify the date the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Trump’s immunity appeal.)

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