Trump's busy week in court goes well beyond the hush-money fight

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Former President Trump’s legal travails will take center stage this week during a busy and important week for the presumptive GOP nominee’s court battles.

The showcase attracting attention is the New York hush money trial after a jury was selected for the battle last week.

But it is just one front for the former president, who will also be battling in court over a potential gag order related to that trial and over a fight about the bond he posted in a separate civil fraud case in New York.

Perhaps most importantly, the Supreme Court this week will hear oral arguments on Trump’s immunity claims.

Here’s the breakdown of his court calendar this week.

Opening statements in hush money trial

New York Judge Juan Merchan indicated that he expects opening statements to begin Monday in the hush money trial after a full slate of jurors and alternates were officially sworn in last week. 

Lawyers from both sides will make their opening statements before prosecutors begin to make their case against the former president. Prosecutors will need to convince the jury that the former president falsified business records with the intent to defraud and to commit or further another crime to prove he is guilty.  

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment his ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair with Trump ahead of the 2016 election.  

The jury selection process took four days as lawyers for Trump, the prosecutors and Merchan narrowed down the prospective juror pool. The trial is expected to take at least six weeks from jury selection.  

The court will adjourn at 2 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday due to Passover this week. The court will still meet for its four regularly scheduled trial dates this week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  

Hearing on Trump’s $175 million bond in civil fraud case 

Trump also must deal with a Monday hearing starting at 10 a.m. that is related to Trump’s $175 million bond in his New York civil fraud case.  

The New York attorney general’s office asked Judge Arthur Engoron to void the bond Trump made, arguing that Trump and his co-defendants failed to show that the surety company has the money to cover it. The office also said the defendants did not show that there was “sufficiently secure and ascertainable” collateral to back the bond.

The attorney general’s office first questioned the bond earlier this month in a brief court notice that asked Trump or the insurance company to demonstrate that the company is capable of paying the full bond amount if Trump loses on appeal. The state lawyers also asked for Trump or the company to show the bond was properly collateralized.

The bond allows Trump’s team to appeal the multimillion-dollar judgment without state Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) office collecting it.  

Engoron will hear arguments on the bond Monday from Trump’s lawyers for his civil fraud case and lawyers with the New York attorney general’s office.

Gag order hearing in hush money case 

There will be a hearing on Trump’s gag order on Tuesday morning starting at 9:30 a.m.  

Prosecutors asked Merchan last week to fine the former president $3,000, accusing Trump of violating the gag order. Merchan did not immediately rule on the prosecutors’ request filed on April 15, but scheduled a hearing on the matter for April 23. 

Assistant District Attorney Chris Conroy said three recent posts on Truth Social by the former president violated the gag order, which Merchan imposed to bar him from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and the judge’s family.

The posts at issue took aim at potential witnesses in the hush money case, including Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen.

Trump’s legal team has argued those posts do not violate the gag order, with attorney Todd Blanche saying last week Trump was “responding to salacious, repeated, vehement attacks by these witnesses.”

Trump immunity arguments at SCOTUS 

The Supreme Court will hear arguments starting 10 a.m. Thursday on whether Trump can be criminally prosecuted for his alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 reelection loss.  

The high court agreed earlier this year to hear Trump’s immunity arguments in special counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case that has since been put on hold. Trump’s lawyers have maintained that Smith’s case should be tossed, saying that the former president has absolute presidential immunity from the criminal prosecution. 

His immunity claims so far have been rejected by Trump’s trial judge and a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Merchan said last week that Trump could not attend the arguments on presidential immunity on Thursday. Trump is required to attend the entirety of his hush money trial unless he gets special permission from the judge to skip, according to New York state law. 

“I will see him here next week,” the judge said at the time.

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