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Supreme Court Should Take Action Before July Sentencing: Trump

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


After being found guilty on 34 felony counts in his New York City hush money trial, former President Donald Trump has called on the Supreme Court to take action before his July sentencing. The Republican National Convention in Milwaukee is set to begin four days before Trump’s sentencing in the New York case. Trump expressed his discontent in a post on Truth Social, stating that the GOP is expected to officially nominate him for president during this convention. Trump also criticized Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over the trial, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), who brought the charges against him. He argued that it was unfair for these two individuals to “make a decision which will determine the future of our Nation.”

“The United States Supreme Court MUST DECIDE!” Trump posted.

Trump was convicted last week after a jury of 12 New Yorkers found him guilty on all counts of falsifying business records to conceal alleged affairs during his 2016 campaign.

“He could face jail time, though first-time offenders on charges like Trump’s are rarely incarcerated. Bragg declined to say whether prosecutors will seek jail time for the former president, insisting prosecutors would speak through their court filings in coming weeks,” , The Hill reported.

“Trump is scheduled to be sentenced July 11. He has said he will appeal the guilty verdict, which would go to a higher New York court. The U.S. Supreme Court is already weighing a separate case in which the former president has argued he should be immune from prosecution over his actions after the 2020 election, when he tried to subvert the results,” the outlet added.

“If the conservative-majority court agrees with Trump on that case, many of his other pending criminal indictments could unwind. Even if the court does not go that far, its decision could delay actions in several of Trump’s cases beyond the November election,” The Hill continued.

Trump’s attorney and legal spokeswoman recently provided a big update on the Manhattan trial.

During an interview on Newsmax, Alina Habba criticized the Democrat-dominated justice system in New York City as “third world.” She suggested that the judge presiding over her client’s hush money trial routinely infringes upon Trump’s constitutional rights to a fair trial.

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Habba addressed the nearly unprecedented gag order on Trump’s business records criminal trial in Manhattan, the first against a former president.

“The gag orders, the unconstitutionality. I mean, what is more Colombia? Russia? What is more third world?” Habba told Newsmax TV host Carl Higbie. “This is why we have people pouring into our country, running for freedom. And now we’re gonna be like that. You know, we are that. It’s disgusting.”

During one courtroom session, Judge Juan Merchan chastised Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, as he vigorously defended Trump against the gag order. Blanche contended that Trump’s responses to political attacks shouldn’t warrant punishment, but Merchan rebuked him, stating that he was “losing all credibility” on the matter.

“What happened in court with the gag order and the anger that you’re seeing from these judges; it’s very concerning for me,” Habba said.

WATCH:

District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s victory in prosecuting Trump on all 34 counts in his hush-money case could potentially backfire on Special Counsel Jack Smith’s attempts to find the 45th president guilty of 44 more charges that were presented in federal courts in the districts of Florida and Washington, D.C.

The New York County ruling coincides with the US Supreme Court deliberating Trump’s argument that presidents should have perpetual “absolute” immunity for their actions in their official capacities.

According to the special counsel, no such protection or illegal activity, such as plotting to rig the election, is always criminally prosecutable.

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The immunity question does not immediately affect the hush money verdict at this time. It seems that Trump has acknowledged the private nature of the conduct in question.

According to Judge Juan Merchan, many of the case’s circumstances involved running for office rather than holding it, and his attorneys failed to bring up the issue promptly.

A federal judge, Alvin Hellerstein, has ruled that, in respect of the payments to an adult film star, Stormy Daniels, the “evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the matter was a purely personal item of the President — a cover-up of an embarrassing event. Hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to a president’s official acts.”

The justices may find that Trump’s argument for immunity gains strength in light of his conviction.

In his brief to the high court, the 45th president warned that subjecting a president to prosecution could result in “years of post-office trauma at the hands of political opponents.” He argued that the threat of future prosecution and imprisonment could be used as a political weapon.

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“Mr. Smith would respond that the threat of criminal prosecution for official acts is not a credible threat to what Justice Antonin Scalia called the ‘boldness of the president,’ because it will happen only rarely. At oral arguments before the Supreme Court, though, one of the liberal lions, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, acknowledged a ‘very legitimate concern about prosecutorial abuse.’ Will Bragg’s boast diminish or deepen that concern?” the New York Sun reported.

Trump’s lawyer at the oral arguments, John Sauer, warned the court that if Smith’s argument prevails, “every current president will face potential blackmail and extortion by their political opponents.” A state conviction by an elected prosecutor could make this prediction more credible to the justices, who will decide how much protection the president should have.

However, there are limits to what the justices could do for Trump. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s point that a narrow view of immunity could lead to presidents trying to pardon themselves only applies to federal crimes, not state ones.

“The case would have to make its way through New York’s appellate system — the tenets of federalism mandate that, in all but the rarest of circumstances, federal courts will only intervene in state prosecutions as a last result. Trump would also have to argue that there is a federal issue at stake that warrants federal judicial consideration,” the outlet reported.

“Trump, though, could be helped by the unusual — almost unprecedented — nature of Mr. Bragg’s case, in two ways. First, the district attorney’s use of federal election law — violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act — as a possible predicate for securing a state crime conviction. While the jury was not required to find Trump guilty on that head, it could emerge as a hook on which to hang an appeal,” the outlet added.

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