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Stormy Daniels Case Extended: Judge Honors Trump’s Defense Request for Time

Trump Legal Team Granted Time for Comprehensive Evidence Review

The notorious case involving alleged discretional payments to Stormy Daniels and involving former President Donald Trump, which is seen by many as the least potent of the various legal attacks against the former leader, has just seen a significant ruling. It was broadcasted on Fox News that subsequent to a late introduction of evidence by the prosecution, the presiding judge has opted to prolong the trial. This decision was undertaken to allot additional time – up to 30 days – for Trump’s defense team to examine this new material.

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Presiding Judge Juan Merchan approved the extension and has scheduled a hearing for March 25th, intending to delve into questions related to the newly emerged evidence from the Department of Justice. It was the Justice Department who had previously informed Trump’s legal counsel and the Manhattan DA’s office, currently under Alvin Bragg, of an impending release of 15,000 potentially evidentiary records.

Fox News has informed that the probe into the hush-money payments to Daniels was carried out by the DOJ during Trump’s presidency. The U.S. Attorney’s Office went on to clarify that a majority of the examined content is not directly pertinent to the state case being brought against the former president.

Federal authorities have already provided no fewer than 104,000 pages of recorded materials. Initially, a large chunk, appoximatelly 74,000 pages, were handed only to Bragg’s office, bypassing Trump’s legal team. These documents have since been forwarded by Bragg’s office to the defense.

These dossiers touch upon alleged secret payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, a twist that resulted in Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, serving a prison sentence. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg communicated his acquiescence to a 30-day delay for the defense to thoroughly scrutinize the newly presented evidence.

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The former president’s lawyers, however, had appealed for a longer postponement. They sought to extend this delay till the matter of presidential immunity is settled by the Supreme Court. The appeal states, ‘The trial should be postponed pending Supreme Court review of the scope of the presidential immunity doctrine in Trump v. United States,’ which is expected to be presented for argument before the Supreme Court on April 25, 2024.

The appeal furtherenhances its argument by adding that the trial needs to be adjourned, ‘subject to an evidentiary hearing external to the jury presence, to bar evidence from President Trump’s official activities during the trial based on presidential immunity.’

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Merchan informed that the trial duration was projected to span approximately six weeks when he set the court date. Trump faced indictment from Bragg on 34 counts of first-degree business record falsification in April. The former president has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Seeking complete dismissal, Trump and his counselors endeavored to have the case thrown out, but their attempts were thwarted by Merchan last month. According to Bragg, Trump ‘chronically and deceitfully tampered with New York business documents to mask criminal activities that concealed damaging information from the electorate in the 2016 presidential election.’

In 2019, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York chose not to proceed with charges against Trump pertaining to the payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Moreover, the Federal Election Commission closed their investigation into the issue in 2021.

The appeal was lodged by Trump’s lawyers in the wake of the recent Supreme Court’s decision to set the date for arguments on the doctrine of presidential immunity. The discussions are slated for April 25, with a verdict expected to be delivered by late June.

The issue currently under scrutiny by the highest court of the land was presented as an appeal by Trump, in response to charges that arose from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case regarding election interference. Fox News has reported that the Supreme Court’s decision to entertain the presidential immunity argument has put an indefinite pause on the Smith trial.

The trial was initially expected to kick off on March 4, which is the day before the Super Tuesday event. Highlighting this, the news outlet noted, ‘By agreeing to examine the immunity issue, the Supreme Court has indefinitely shelved the Smith trial.’

While advocating for the Supreme Court’s consideration of his claim to immunity, Trump’s legal team posited, ‘In the event a President’s prosecution is upheld, such prosecutions will inevitably multiply, triggering never-ending cycles of political reprisals.’

The legal filing continued with the argument that a criminal prosecution, due to the more severe penalties and the acuteness of stigma attached to it, would exert a significantly higher level of ‘personal vulnerability’ on the President, when compared to any civil penalty.

Their final point of contention was that, ‘The prospect of potential future criminal prosecution by a politically adversarial Administration will cast a lengthy shadow over the official actions of every future President, especially when it comes to decisions that are politically sensitive.’

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