Judge shoots down Trump’s presidential immunity claim ahead of Stormy Daniels hush money trial

NEW YORK — Donald Trump failed on Wednesday to delay the Stormy Daniels hush money trial until the Supreme Court rules on whether his former presidency gives him immunity from prosecution, with Judge Juan Merchan saying he brought up the issue far too late — raising “real questions” about why.

“This court finds that defendant had myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity,” Merchan wrote, denying Trump’s motion in its entirety and calling his lawyers’ excuses for the delay “inadequate and not convincing.”

“Further, and as an aside, the fact that the defendant waited until a mere 17 days prior to the scheduled trial … raises real questions about the sincerity and actual purpose of the motion.”

Trump has invoked presidential immunity in several of his court cases without success, delaying for years litigation with E. Jean Carroll, the woman he was ultimately found liable for sexually assaulting. The nation’s high court is expected to hear arguments later this month over whether he should be shielded from prosecution in special counsel Jack Smith’s election subversion case.

On March 11, Trump’s Manhattan lawyers asked Merchan to adjourn the hush money trial — then slated for March 25 — until the Supreme Court reviews his claim. They further argued that the judge should prevent prosecutors from presenting evidence relating to his “official acts” as president, including threatening posts denigrating Michael Cohen and Daniels on his official government account on Twitter, now known as X.

Merchan declined to rule on the evidence and said he would do so in real time when the trial proceeds as planned on April 15.

The effort is one of at least eight by Trump to delay what’s expected to be his first of four criminal trials. He’s pleaded not guilty to 34 felonies alleging he concealed reimbursement to Cohen during his first year in the White House to disguise their scheme the previous year to hide alleged sex scandals from voters, including an extramarital tryst with porn star Daniels.

Last year, he failed to get the hush money case moved to federal court by arguing the alleged conduct related to his duties as commander-in-chief.

“The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the matter was a purely a personal item of the president — a coverup of an embarrassing event,” Manhattan Federal Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein found.

“Hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to a president’s official acts.”

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche and a Bragg spokeswoman declined to comment.