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Hush money judge rejects Trump’s immunity claims as untimely

A New York judge rejected former President Trump’s presidential immunity claims in his hush money case on Wednesday, saying Trump waited too long to make them.

Justice Juan Merchan’s ruling removes another pathway for Trump to delay his upcoming hush money trial, which is slated to become the first criminal trial of a former president on April 15.

Unlike his other three criminal indictments, Trump had not argued he was immune from his 34 charges in the hush money case, which stems from payments made before he was president.

But the former president in recent weeks began insisting that some of prosecutors’ desired trial evidence would be precluded if the Supreme Court agrees with his immunity claims in another cases.

“Defendant’s motion is DENIED in its entirety as untimely. The Court declines to consider whether the doctrine of presidential immunity precludes the introduction of evidence of purported official presidential acts in a criminal proceeding,” Merchan wrote.

Trump’s claims of presidential immunity reached the Supreme Court earlier this year, after the justices agreed to weigh whether a president can be criminally charged for their actions while serving in the office.

The issue arose from his federal 2020 election interference case, though he has also claimed presidential immunity in his federal classified documents case and Georgia election interference case.

A trial judge in Washington, D.C., and a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Trump’s theory that he cannot be criminally prosecuted.

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the D.C. Circuit panel wrote in its 57-page decision earlier this month. “We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter.”

Judges in his other cases have not yet weighed in on the matter.

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