Major legal battle day for former President Donald Trump: While the Republican spent the day in a New York courtroom, the Supreme Court in Washington was hearing the question of whether he should be protected from prosecution for actions in office. Trump could achieve a partial victory here.

“I heard the hearing was pretty great,” Trump said late in the afternoon (local time) in New York after a long day in court. “I hope it was made clear that a president must have immunity.” At the same time, Trump again lashed out at the New York hush money trial against him. “This is a trial that should never have happened.”

Important witness with an unflattering statement

In the trial, an important witness made a statement that was unflattering to Trump. The former editor of the pro-Trump smear paper “National Enquirer”, David Pecker, said that the former US president had not shown concern for his family life in response to threatening reports of affairs.

When asked by the public prosecutor whether Trump had ever expressed reservations about his family to him, Pecker answered in the negative. “His family was never mentioned.” “So I assumed (he) was talking about the election campaign.”

The indictment accuses Trump – who, as in the past few days, remained almost expressionless – that he wanted to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election by paying $130,000 in hush money to sex actress Stormy Daniels. The transaction itself was not illegal, but when returning the money to his lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump falsified business documents to conceal their actual purpose, according to the allegations. Trump denies this.

First criminal trial against an ex-president

Pecker’s testimony is important because the prosecution wants to use it to support their claim that Trump’s goal was to protect his campaign from negative reports in order to have a better chance of voting in November 2016. This is intended to counteract a possible defense argument that Trump’s payment to porn star Daniels was simply about preventing damage to his family.

This is the first criminal trial against an ex-president in US history. Trump could face several years in prison if convicted, but the sentence could also be suspended. A fine would also be possible. The case could influence the US election campaign. The 77-year-old Trump wants to be re-elected president in November – his opponent is likely to be the Democratic incumbent Joe Biden (81).

There is a lot at stake for Trump

There was also a lot at stake for Trump before the Supreme Court in Washington. He is charged in the US capital in connection with attempted election fraud. Trump supporters stormed the parliament building in Washington on January 6, 2021. Before the storming of the Capitol, Trump had already tried at various levels to overturn the election results. Trump is charged with similar allegations in the US state of Georgia. Trump and his lawyers want the charges to be dropped.

They are citing Trump’s immunity in his office as president at the time. They argue that Trump cannot be legally prosecuted for actions that were part of his duties as president. With this argument they had already failed in lower courts. Trump’s lawyers filed an appeal, which is why the case has now ended up in the Supreme Court.

Historic hearing in Washington – even without Trump

The hearing in Washington before the Supreme Court is considered historic – but Trump’s presence was not necessary. The judges’ ruling could redraw the boundaries of the rule of law and is likely to have a major impact on some of the four criminal proceedings against Trump. In addition to the allegations in New York, Georgia and Washington, there is also the alleged illegal storage of secret documents in Florida.

The Supreme Court will not make its decision for a few weeks. It has already become apparent that the judges may not follow Trump’s argument about full immunity. However, there is some evidence to suggest that the verdict could still be a victory for Trump, as the court did not appear to be fully convinced by the indictment against Trump in Washington. If this proves true, it is unlikely that the trial in the US capital will begin before the presidential election in November.