Supreme Court decision may threaten Trump's criminal conviction in New York

By 
 July 9, 2024

While former President Donald Trump had been scheduled to be sentenced in New York for falsifying business records, his hearing has since been pushed back to September 18.

Yet some observers say that a recent Supreme Court ruling could lead to Trump's conviction being overturned entirely.

Supreme Court set new standard on presidential immunity

As The Hill pointed out, America's highest judicial body ruled last month that a president enjoys a presumption of immunity from prosecution for action that he took while in office.

Trump does not claim that paying adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged affair amounted to an official act.

However, The Hill noted that some of the evidence presented during his trial is inadmissible under the Supreme Court's new immunity standard.

"Allowing prosecutors to ask or suggest that the jury probe official acts for which the President is immune would thus raise a unique risk that the jurors' deliberations will be prejudiced by their views of the President's policies and performance while in office," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion.

Defense objects to evidence presented at trial

Trump's defense team asserts that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg presented official acts as evidence during his prosecution of the former president.

These included citing Trump's call records, social media posts, and government ethics form along with testimony from one of his close aides.

The social media posts may prove to be particularly relevant, as Roberts wrote that "most of a President’s public communications are likely to fall comfortably" within his official duties.

Still, Roberts acknowledged that there could "be contexts in which the President, notwithstanding the prominence of his position, speaks in an unofficial capacity — perhaps as a candidate for office or party leader."

Former prosecutor uncertain if Trump's conviction will stand

The Hill quoted defense attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove as stating in a letter to Judge Juan Merchan that "this official-acts evidence should never have been put before the jury."

Cheryl Bader is a former federal prosecutor who now works as a law professor at Fordham University, and she expressed uncertainty over whether Trump's conviction will be upheld.

"The biggest hurdle is that the Supreme Court has set up a presumption, which puts a burden on the prosecutor. But it’s not an insurmountable burden," she told The Hill.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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