Trump Challenges New York Statute of Limitations Post-Conviction The Facts Explained

Trump Challenges New York Statute of Limitations Post-Conviction: The Facts Explained

WFCN – A day after being found guilty of a crime and becoming the first former president of the United States, Donald Trump defended the prosecution’s case from behind a microphone.

Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the trial for nearly six weeks, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who filed the charges against the former president, were both blasted by Trump. However, he also cast doubt on the prosecution’s timeliness.

“They missed the statute of limitations by a lot because this was very old,” he stated. “This could have been brought up seven years ago rather than in the midst of an election. Thus, the statute of limitations was overlooked by them.”

34 counts of fabricating business records to conceal a $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election were deemed by a jury to be committed by Trump. Trump declared that he intends to appeal his conviction.


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Trump is still the Republican Party’s front-runner for president. The statute of limitations is one matter that could be brought up on appeal, according to Todd Blanche, Trump’s attorney, in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show.

How Long Does Trump’s Statute of Limitations Run?

According to Greg Germain, a law professor at Syracuse University, a statute of limitations is any regulation that mandates that a particular kind of lawsuit be filed within a given amount of time. Each jurisdiction and offense has different details.

Trump Challenges New York Statute of Limitations Post-Conviction The Facts Explained

“Different states and the U.S. have different periods for different kinds of claims,” Germain stated.

The trial of Trump’s case took place in New York, where misdemeanors have a two-year statute of limitations and felonies have a five-year statute of limitations. The first-degree accusation of falsifying company records against Trump is a Class E felony. In other words, the five-year statute of limitations applies.

Falsifying company records is normally a misdemeanor, but according to New York law, it can be made into a felony if it is done in order to commit or cover up another crime. According to the prosecution, Trump used “unlawful means” to tamper with documents in order to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Though the judge stated in the jury instructions that they might achieve a unanimous guilty finding without agreeing on the precise “unlawful means” employed, the jury acknowledged that this occurred when they found Trump guilty on all charges.

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The transgressions Trump was found guilty of crimes that go back more than five years, but they survived a preliminary legal appeal due to an extension during the pandemic.


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More than six years after the first charge in the indictment, which dates to February 14, 2017, Trump was indicted on March 30, 2023. The problem is that former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the time limit to press charges in all criminal cases when courts were disturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. That is beyond the five years that the statute of limitations normally permits.

Merchan dismissed the request made by Trump’s attorneys to dismiss the lawsuit early on the grounds of the statute of limitations. The epidemic extension, according to the judge in a pretrial ruling, gave the prosecution an extra year and forty-seven days to do its work.

“In other words, this felony prosecution had to be commenced within six years and 47 days from when the crimes were allegedly committed,” Merchan explained.

Days before the possible deadline, Trump was charged. “The conduct described in the indictment was brought within the prescribed five-year time limit,” Merchan wrote, citing the extension.

Prosecutors contended against Trump’s move to dismiss, arguing that New York criminal procedure law for the statute of limitations deadline to be extended when someone has been “continuously outside” of the state. The judge declined to consider this point in his deliberations. Attorneys claim that Trump’s administration, which ran from 2017 to 2021, complied with this requirement, lengthening the time frame for charges.

In the event that Trump’s legal team launches a timing-based challenge, this gives prosecutors another avenue to defend the conviction in an appeal.


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Former general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and distinguished fellow at Penn State Dickinson Law Stanley Brand told USA TODAY that appeals concerning the statute of limitations frequently come down to a disagreement about when the clock began to run. However, the circumstances surrounding Trump’s case—that is, the misdemeanors being upgraded to felonies—complicate that answer.

Germain expressed his curiosity about the potential applicability of the statute of limitations to the uncharged underlying offenses that rendered the falsification of company documents a felony.

According to him, “I could imagine a court saying that you can’t put together two or three” misdemeanors that have passed the statute of limitations and convert them into a felony that is still active.

He likened the situation to “stacked Russian dolls,” wherein the allegations are predicated on an underlying crime that is predicated on still another underlying crime.

“That’s why it’s such a difficult case to understand,” added Germain.

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