July 13, 2024

Trump asks for hush money conviction to be overturned

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Donald Trump’s lawyers have asked for the former US president’s conviction in his hush money criminal case to be set aside and his sentencing this month delayed, American media report.

A letter sent by Trump’s lawyers to the New York judge presiding over the trial reportedly cites Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that granted the former president immunity from prosecution for official actions he took while in office.

In May, Trump was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records. He will be sentenced on 11 July.

He signed off the records during his White House tenure in 2017, which his lawyers say should be taken into account.

Last year lawyers similarly argued that the allegations in the case involved official acts within the colour of his presidential duties.

However, a federal judge wrote that Trump had failed to show that his conduct was “for or relating to any act performed by or for the President under [color] of the official acts of a president”.

Monday’s ruling by the Supreme Court was hailed by Trump as a “big win” for democracy.

The justices found that a president had immunity for “official acts” but was not immune for “unofficial acts”.

The verdict related to a separate case against Trump: he is suspected of trying to illegally overturn the 2020 presidential election result that gave victory to Joe Biden.

Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling, President Biden described it as a “dangerous precedent” that undermined the “rule of law” in America.

Trump’s lawyers sent the letter to New York Judge Juan Merchan on Monday, US media report.

The lawyers argue that the Supreme Court’s latest decision confirmed the defence position in the New York case that some prosecution evidence should not have been allowed because this constituted official presidential acts.

The letter is yet to be made public, and Judge Merchan has not commented on the issue.

In May, a panel of 12 Manhattan jurors unanimously convicted Trump on all counts of falsifying business records.

During the trial, the court heard from a number of witnesses, including former adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose alleged sexual encounter with the former president was at the centre of the case.

The former president was accused of having concealed a payment to buy the silence of Ms Daniels in the final days of his 2016 election campaign.

Prosecutors had argued that, by approving a scheme to disguise the money as legal expenses, Trump broke election law.

Trump called the verdict in the New York case a “disgrace”.

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