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Trump Receives Relief as Hush Money Case Sentencing Delayed

Photo : Reuters

Former US President Donald Trump has secured a delay in his sentencing for a hush money case until September 18, following a request grounded in a recent Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity. Originally scheduled for July 11, the sentencing's postponement was sanctioned by Judge Juan Merchan in New York, with no opposition from prosecutors.

The case centers on Trump's conviction on 34 counts related to falsifying business records to cover up payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. These payments, totaling $130,000, were allegedly made to silence Daniels about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. The charges specifically accuse Trump of falsely categorizing these payments as legal fees.

Had the sentencing proceeded as initially planned, Trump faced the possibility of up to four years in prison per charge. The timing of the delay is crucial as it now falls just days before the Republican Party Convention, scheduled for July 15-18, where Trump is expected to be prominently featured as the party's candidate for the upcoming presidential election.

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The delay also strategically positions the sentencing after the next scheduled presidential debate between Trump and President Joe Biden, slated for September 10. This timing could potentially influence public perception and media coverage leading up to the November election.

Trump's legal team capitalized on a Supreme Court ruling that could impact his case and others involving presidential actions. The ruling, which asserts that a sitting president cannot be criminally prosecuted for official acts, has been leveraged to argue against Trump's conviction, asserting that the payments to Daniels were personal matters predating his presidency.

Critics and legal experts have debated the applicability of this ruling, noting that while it may shield official presidential actions from criminal prosecution, it does not extend to personal conduct before assuming office. Despite these arguments, Trump's lawyers successfully obtained the delay, buying additional time to challenge the conviction.

Beyond the hush money case, Trump faces legal scrutiny in other jurisdictions. In Florida, he is accused of unlawfully retaining classified documents following his presidency. In Washington and Georgia, allegations of election interference and efforts to overturn the 2020 election results also loom large. The implications of the Supreme Court ruling could potentially influence these cases, as well as future legal actions involving former and current presidents.

The Supreme Court's decision itself underscores the deep political divisions within the United States judiciary, with a split verdict among justices appointed by both conservative and liberal administrations. This polarization highlights the broader implications of presidential immunity and the legal boundaries surrounding executive actions, setting a precedent for future legal challenges involving presidential conduct and accountability.

July 3, 2024 10:52 a.m. 416

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