A race against time for Trump as America seeks the whole truth – and nothing but the truth

By John Mercury April 26, 2024

Two courts aren’t enough – not for Donald Trump, not on a Thursday.

His hush money criminal trial and Supreme Court hearing, legal events one and two, were already under way when he scored the hat-trick.

A New York judge announced he was upholding the verdict and the $83m damages award against Trump for defaming writer E Jean Carroll.

There’s a lot going on, legally, and there’s a lot riding on all of it for Trump.

Catch up: how the day unfolded in court

The hearing at the Supreme Court concerned the 6 January riots, election subversion and Trump’s alleged involvement. It is a crime against democracy, at the serious end of the legal jeopardy he faces.

His lawyers argued he should be shielded by immunity from prosecution for what he did while acting as president.

The prosecution’s case is that he was acting as a private citizen, not in an official capacity.

Trump wasn’t present at the hearing in Washington DC, but he will have liked what he heard.

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The prevailing legal assessment is that discussions with the nine-judge panel indicate that, while they didn’t necessarily agree with his argument for immunity, they have enough questions to delay the prosecution further.

A majority appear to think that presidents have some immunity from criminal prosecution for their official actions, even if the exact parameters are unclear.

Read more:
Porn stars, sex scandals and zzzs: A to Z of hush money trial
Newspaper chief was Trump’s ‘eyes and ears’
Adam Boulton: What Liz Truss and Donald Trump have in common

What is clear is that if the trial court is instructed to determine which of Trump’s allegedly illegal acts qualify for immunity as official acts, it will be an extended process that could easily push the trial beyond the November election.

Such a scenario would suit Trump. The less criminal exposure he has before America votes, the better for him.

If he can push the trial past November, and win back the White House, he can use the power of office to make the charges go away.

Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Manhattan Criminal Court.
Pic: Reuters
Pic: Reuters

The New York hush money trial is the only one of four criminal prosecutions to have begun.

The Supreme Court appears set to shorten the odds on it being the only one before America goes to the polls.

It is the pressing matter of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the man who would be president, and it’s a race against time.

This stress test of the fundamentals of American democracy and rule of law gets ever more stressful.


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