Former President Trump Challenges Conviction, Citing Presidential Immunity in Hush Money Trial


In a move to have his conviction tossed out, former President Donald Trump has asked a judge in New York to consider the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on presidential immunity in his hush money trial. Trump’s attorneys plan to argue that certain witness testimony and social media posts should not have been used in the trial based on the Supreme Court’s ruling that a president’s official acts cannot be used as evidence in a prosecution.

In a preliminary letter to Judge Juan Merchan, Trump’s attorneys claimed that the witness testimony and social media posts were improperly used and that they should not have been presented to the jury. The attorneys are set to provide specific details about the evidence they believe was wrongly used by July 10.

One of the key pieces of evidence that Trump’s attorneys plan to challenge is the testimony of former Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who described a conversation she had with Trump in 2018 about a story in the Wall Street Journal about porn star Stormy Daniels. Another witness, Madeleine Westerhout, a former Trump White House aide, testified about how Trump felt about the story and about how she witnessed Trump sign checks from his Oval Office.

Prosecutors used this testimony to support their argument that Trump knowingly participated in a cover-up of a payment his former attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 election. The Supreme Court’s ruling on presidential immunity could potentially affect the admissibility of this evidence, as it established that a president’s official acts are immune from prosecution and cannot be used as evidence in a criminal case.

Trump’s attorneys also plan to argue that certain social media posts he made in 2018 were immunized official acts and should not have been used as evidence. The Supreme Court’s ruling on presidential immunity did not specifically address every conceivable presidential act, but it established a framework for dividing acts into three categories: official acts that are absolutely immune from prosecution, official acts that are presumptively immune from prosecution and require adequate rebuttals from prosecutors, and unofficial acts that are not immune at all.

Prosecutors have responded to Trump’s request, saying that his arguments are “without merit.” Judge Merchan has given Trump’s attorneys until July 10 to submit a detailed memorandum outlining their claims, and prosecutors have until July 24 to respond. Merchan will then review the evidence and decide whether to throw out Trump’s guilty verdict on September 6, followed by sentencing on September 18 if necessary.

Ashley Oliver
Ashley Oliver
Ashley Oliver is a Justice Department reporter. She previously covered Congress and campaigns for Breitbart News. Originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, she graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in classics and philosophy before spending six years in Massachusetts working in the real estate industry.

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