Can Trump really ask for the verdict in the Stormy Daniels case to be overturned based on the Supreme Court ruling?

Can Trump really ask for the verdict in the Stormy Daniels case to be overturned based on the Supreme Court ruling?
Can Trump really ask for the verdict in the Stormy Daniels case to be overturned based on the Supreme Court ruling?

Less than 24 hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling was published granting immunity to the US president for illegal acts committed in the exercise of his duties, Former President Donald Trump took the first step to vacate his recent criminal conviction in Manhattan based on that ruling.a move that may not be successful since the trial focused on actions Trump took as a candidate, not as president, according to an earlier court ruling.

According to a previous ruling by a federal judge, the events that led to Trump’s historic conviction on May 30 on 34 felony counts were carried out by the former president in his capacity as a private citizen and not in the exercise of his duties as president of the United States.

The issue that the forgeries were not official acts of the president had already been decided.

Trump was found guilty by a Manhattan jury of falsifying 34 business records related to his private business activities. Such falsifications, which are generally punishable as simple misdemeanors or minor offenses, were upgraded to felonies because they were carried out in the commission of other crimes.

The records were falsified to make reimbursements made to attorney Michael Cohen for the bribe he had paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep her from disclosing that she had had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006 appear to be attorney fees.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Trump committed crimes through the falsifications: violating federal campaign finance limits, violating state election laws by illegally influencing the 2016 election, and violating state tax laws.

The records falsified by Trump were: 11 invoices from Michael Cohen, nine entries in Donald J. Trump’s accounting ledger, nine checks signed by Donald J. Trump, three entries in the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust ledger, and two checks from the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.

Although the forgeries were committed between February 14 and December 5, 2017, when Trump was already in the White House, they were not carried out in the performance of his duties as president, according to federal judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Southern District of Manhattan in 2023.

That year, one of the multiple delaying tactics used by Trump’s legal team to prevent or postpone the trial was a request to move the trial to federal jurisdiction, arguing that the charges involved official acts within the scope of the defendant’s presidential duties.

That argument was rejected by Hellerstein, who said in his decision that Trump had failed to prove that his conduct had been “for, or related to, any act performed by, or for, the President under the color of the official acts of a President.”

Hellerstein went further saying that The evidence presented “overwhelmingly suggests that the matter was purely a personal matter for the President: a cover-up of an embarrassing event.”.

“The hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to the President’s official acts, nor does it in any way reflect the tone of the President’s official duties,” the judge concluded.

What happens now?

According to The New York TimesTrump’s lawyers asked to postpone Trump’s sentencing hearing, which had been scheduled for July 11, to give the judge time to decide whether the Supreme Court ruling affects his conviction.

In their request for permission to file the motion, Trump’s lawyers argue that the conviction should be overturned based on the Supreme Court’s decision, since they say prosecutors presented evidence related to official acts Trump took while in office, something that is not permissible under Monday’s decision.

In a brief filed by Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass, prosecutors say that “while we believe defendant’s arguments are without merit, we do not oppose his motion for leave to file suit or his potential request to defer sentencing pending determination of his motion.”

Should Merchán decide not to hear or dismiss the motion, Trump’s lawyers could again raise a motion to overturn the Supreme Court decision when they appeal the conviction once Trump is sentenced.

Trump faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, but could receive a sentence of just weeks in jail or even probation.

We analyze the Supreme Court’s ruling on Trump’s partial immunity and its possible political impact

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