Trump’s hush money sentencing delayed to September

The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money trial is postponing the former president’s sentencing to September after Manhattan prosecutors said they would not oppose Trump’s request to delay in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision granting him “absolute” immunity from criminal prosecution for “official” acts.

In a letter to Justice Juan Merchan on July 2, prosecutors with the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Trump’s arguments are “without merit” but that they did not oppose his request to push back the sentencing date as he files his legal arguments.

Trump was initially scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, four days before the commencement of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

The judge will instead render a decision on Trump’s arguments on September 6 and Trump will be sentenced on September 18 “if such is still necessary,” according to a notice from Merchan on Tuesday.

That new date means Trump could potentially be handed a jail sentence roughly six weeks before Election Day.

The former president’s attorneys sent a letter to the judge on July 1 in the hopes of delaying his sentencing and blocking his guilty verdict.

The letter arrived within hours of the announcement of a ruling from the nation’s high court that shields Trump and any other presidents from criminal prosecution for actions considered “official” duties while in office.

Donald Trump leaves a criminal courtroom in Manhattan on May 30 after he was found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records. (AP)
Donald Trump leaves a criminal courtroom in Manhattan on May 30 after he was found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records. (AP)

Prosecutors are also imminently expected to submit their recommendations to the court for Trump’s sentence, which is likely to be the only criminally consequential action against the former president before Election Day.

Judge Merchan will ultimately set the sentence. Trump could face several years in jail or alternatively probation, community service, hefty fines or some combination of those terms.

The justice will likely also pull from guidance from Trump’s interview with a New York probation officer last month.

Trump was convicted at his trial on Manhattan on May 30 on all 34 counts against him after jurors deliberated for roughly two days.

The former president was found to have falsified business records in connection with a scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election by paying hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose story about having sex with Trump at a Lake Tahoe hotel in July 2006 threatened to derail his campaign.

Speaking after the Supreme Court’s decision, Trump claimed the ruling “should end all of Crooked Joe Biden’s Witch Hunts against me,” including “the New York Hoaxes” — meaning his hush money case, the civil fraud judgment that has him on the hook for nearly half a billion dollars and a jury’s verdict in a federal defamation trial.

His attorneys argued that the hush money case “should never have been put before a jury” following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

They requested a deadline of July 10 to file a motion based on the high court’s decision.

Trump’s attorneys argued that witness testimony about events in the Oval Office, Trump’s social media posts and phone records during his term, and an Office of Government Ethics form about payments to his estranged former personal attorney Michael Cohen should not have been admitted into evidence under the Supreme Court’s new “presidential immunity doctrine.”

“Under Trump, this official-acts evidence should never have been put before the jury,” they wrote in their July 1 letter.

“After further briefing on these issues beginning on July 10 2024, it will be manifest that the trial result cannot stand,” they added.