Here’s the hush money evidence at the center of Trump’s immunity claims

Former President Trump has argued prosecutors at his recent hush money trial introduced evidence that is protected under the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity ruling, an assertion that could upend his conviction.

Trump does not assert immunity from the 34 guilty counts themselves, but he argues the verdict must be set aside because certain pieces of evidence were protected “official acts” that should never have been shown to the jury.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s (D) office is pushing back, and Judge Juan Merchan has meanwhile already punted Trump’s sentencing until September.

As the battle heats up, here’s a look at the pieces of evidence that Trump’s lawyers have already previewed they believe are official acts, as indicated by Trump’s defense in a letter to the court.

A key quote from Hope Hicks

Trump is taking issue with a critical piece of testimony provided by Hope Hicks in the final question of direct examination. Hicks served as Trump’s 2016 campaign press secretary and later in his White House.

Hicks indicated to jurors that Trump, while in office, told her “it would have been bad” for porn star Stormy Daniels’s allegations of an affair with Trump, which he denies, to come out publicly before the election.

It bolstered prosecutors’ narrative that the hush money paid to Daniels at the center of the case was directly related to the campaign, rather than to prevent embarrassment to Trump’s family or other nonpolitical rationales. Hicks seemed to realize the damage, breaking down in tears moments later.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass returned to the testimony in his marathon closing argument, telling jurors the testimony “puts the nail in Mr. Trump’s coffin.”

Trump’s tweets

Trump’s lawyers have signaled they believe six of the former president’s tweets — or posts on Twitter, the social platform now known as X — issued while he was in the White House and shown to jurors also constitute protected “official acts.”

The tweets revolve around Trump’s attacks on Michael Cohen, Trump’s ex-fixer who made the hush money payment at the center of the case, as he began to flip on his former boss in 2018.

Cohen flipped as federal prosecutors criminally investigated him in part over the hush money arrangement, searching his home and office in a case that ultimately led Cohen to plead guilty later in 2018.

During Trump’s presidency, the White House at one point said Trump’s tweets, which he posted prolifically, counted as “official statements.”

Trump’s government ethics form

“[I]n 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump’s attorneys, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017.”

— Trump’s 2018 government ethics form, pg. 45

Trump’s team also asserts that prosecutors shouldn’t have been able to introduce Trump’s government ethics form in 2018 that references the hush money arrangement.

On the form, Trump suggests his monthly payments to Cohen that correspond to the 34 counts were, indeed, reimbursements for Cohen paying off Daniels, the porn star. It undercut the defense’s narrative that the payments were recorded truthfully: a legal retainer fee for Cohen’s work as personal attorney to the president.

Read Trump’s full ethics form here.

Trump’s call records

Finally, Trump’s lawyers say the jury should not have been able to see “toll records” reflecting calls involving Trump while he was in the White House.

Prosecutors showed jurors extensive call logs throughout the trial, though many of the calls took place before Trump was ever elected.

In particular, prosecutors showed jurors records showing four calls between Trump and Cohen while he was in the White House.

Read the call records by clicking here.

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