Trump moves to overturn New York hush money verdict following Supreme Court decision

Former U.S. President Donald Trump appears for his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Hirsch - Pool/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s lawyers on Monday asked the New York judge who presided over his hush money trial to set aside his conviction and delay his sentencing, scheduled for later this month.

The letter to Judge Juan M. Merchan cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling earlier Monday and asked the judge to delay Trump’s sentencing while he weighs the high court’s decision and how it could influence the New York case, according to the letter obtained by The Associated Press.

The lawyers argue that the Supreme Court’s decision confirmed a position the defense raised earlier in the case that prosecutors should have been precluded from introducing some evidence they said constituted official presidential acts, according to the letter.

In prior court filings, Trump contended he is immune from prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office. His lawyers did not raise that as a defense in the hush money case, but they argued that some evidence — including Trump’s social media posts about former lawyer Michael Cohen — comes from his time as president and should have been excluded from the trial because of immunity protections.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for the first time that former presidents have broad immunity from prosecution, extending the delay in the Washington criminal case against Trump on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss.

Trump was convicted in New York of 34 counts of falsifying business records, arising from what prosecutors said was an attempt to cover up a hush money payment just before the 2016 presidential election.

Merchan instituted a policy in the run-up to the trial requiring both sides to send him a one-page letter summarizing their arguments before making longer court filings. He said he did that to better manage the docket, so he was not inundated with voluminous paperwork.

Sisak contributed from Fort Pierce, Florida.