‘DENIED’: Judge Refuses to Delay Trump’s Trial as SCOTUS Weighs Presidential Immunity Claim

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

Judge Juan Merchan declined former President Donald Trump’s request to postpone the start of the former president’s criminal trial in Manhattan.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg claims that 34 counts of Trump’s falsifying business records were intended to hide hush money payments made to hide the reality of his extramarital affairs.

The former president entered a not-guilty plea on every charge. Trump has attempted to postpone the criminal charges against him despite being indicted in four different jurisdictions.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to grant Trump’s attorneys immunity from prosecution for acts he committed while serving as president, so they have asked Merchan to postpone the start of the Manhattan trial until April 15. Trump’s motion was deemed “untimely” by Merchan because it was filed after the deadline.

“Defendant’s motion is DENIED in its entirety as untimely,” the judge wrote.

“The U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear arguments on Trump’s immunity claims on April 25. Trump has claimed he cannot be prosecuted for anything he did while acting in his official capacity as president,” Mediaite noted.

“As he has done in his other criminal cases, Trump has assumed a combative tone toward those involved in his trials, including Merchan. The former president has taken matters a step further by repeatedly attacking Merchan’s daughter while also posting photos of her on social media. That behavior prompted Merchan to issue an expanded gag order designed to prevent Trump from singling out court staff members and their families, though Trump is free to continue criticizing Judge Merchan and Bragg,” the outlet added.

Judge Merchan, who is overseeing the case that is scheduled for trial on April 15, placed a gag order on Trump last week to prevent the former president from publicly attacking witnesses like Daniels and court employees. The original order did not include Merchan or Bragg.

Still, on Monday, Merchan extended it to protect his family better after Trump repeatedly attacked his daughter Loren Merchan on social media.

Former Trump attorney and now ferocious critic Michael Cohen has made numerous appearances on MSNBC to talk about the president’s legal problems, including the Manhattan criminal case in which he is a star witness.

The Trump – Daniels case has already heated up in recent days.

Justice Juan M. Merchan of the New York Supreme Court has extended his gag order, which forbids Trump from disparaging witnesses, prosecutors, or court employees in the criminal trial involving “hush money,” to include his own and DA Bragg’s families.

Trump has made several remarks about Justice Merchan’s daughter in recent days, labeling her a “Rabid Trump Hater” and accusing her of sharing anti-Trump pictures on social media.

“The average observer, must now, after hearing Defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well,” wrote Merchan. “Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

He continued, “Again, all citizens, called upon to participate in these proceedings, whether as a juror, a witness, or in some other capacity, must now concern themselves not only with their own personal safety, but with the safety and the potential for personal attacks upon their loved ones. That reality cannot be overstated.”

Last week, Judge Merchan rejected the defense’s request to postpone the Manhattan trial until the summer and set the start date for April 15.

The allegations at the heart of Trump’s hush-money case are that he misrepresented payments to Cohen—who was then his personal attorney—as legal fees on the books of his business, even though they were actually for Cohen’s assistance in disguising unfavorable stories about him during the 2016 campaign.

Among them was the $130,000 he had given Daniels on Trump’s behalf to keep her quiet about her alleged previous sexual encounter with him.

In April of last year, Trump entered a not-guilty plea to 34 counts of falsifying business records, a felony that carries a maximum four-year prison sentence. However, a conviction does not ensure that Trump will serve any time behind bars.

He denies ever having sex with Daniels, and according to his attorneys, Cohen’s payments were just reasonable legal fees and had nothing to do with any cover-up.