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Judge moves Trump sentencing to September

On Tuesday, Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan announced that he is delaying former President Donald J. Trump's (R) sentencing hearing until September. Merchan had previously set the hearing for July 11 – just four days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee was to begin.

The decision comes after the Supreme Court ruled that Presidents have absolute immunity from prosecution for official acts outlined in Article II of the Constitution. The Supreme Court Justices added that evidence originating from a president's "official acts" cannot be used as evidence in criminal proceedings.

This 6 to 3 ruling effectively is a death blow to the prosecutions against Trump for the events of January 6. This likely also means that the conspiracy charges against Trump in Georgia are potentially unconstitutional as well.

The Trump defense team has already filed a motion with Washington D.C. trial judge Tanya Chutkan asking that Special Prosecutor Jack Smith's already legally dubious case against Trump be dismissed.

Along similar lines, Trump's legal team reportedly will argue that the case against the former president was built upon evidence that occurred during his presidency. The Supreme Court's ruling in Trump v. United States, would preclude any such tainted evidence from being presented to the jury. The Trump defense team is expected to ask Judge Merchan to throw out the conviction on that basis. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would then have to attempt to retrial Trump without considering any of the tainted evidence being presented. If Judge Merchan rules that none of the evidence brought into the case stemmed from when Trump was president that decision will likely be appealed to a higher court. Any Trump retrial would come after November 5. If Trump beats the Democratic nominee (who that will be at this point is unknown) then that retrial would likely not occur until after Trump's second term ends in 2027.

Bragg's office said that they do "not oppose" pushing back Trump's sentencing hearing.

This gives Judge Merchan time to consider Trump's defense team's motion in light of the landmark Supreme Court decision and its impact on the case.

"Although we believe defendant's arguments to be without merit, we do not oppose his request for leave to file and his putative request to adjourn sentencing pending determination of his motion," the DA's office wrote. Following the prosecution's response, Judge Merchan said that he would make his decision about the future of the case by September 6 and that the sentencing hearing would take place on September 18 "if...still necessary."

Trump was found guilty in May of 34 counts of falsifying business records. Trump could potentially be facing up to four years in prison for the New York conviction. It is more likely that Trump, a first-time offender and a pillar of the community, would be sentenced to probation or community service.

Judge Merchan has said that he will rule on the Trump defense team motions on Sept. 6. His new sentencing hearing is tentatively set for Sept. 16 – around the time that early voting starts in a number of key states. The second Presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 10.

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