Friday Briefing: Supreme Court Hears Trump Immunity Case

Friday Briefing: Supreme Court Hears Trump Immunity Case

After a three-hour hearing in Washington, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed poised to narrow the scope of the criminal case against Donald Trump on charges that he plotted to subvert the 2020 election.

Such a ruling in the case, on whether the former president is immune from prosecution, would probably send it back to a lower court and could delay any trial until after the November election. Several Republican-appointed justices expressed worries about the long-term consequences of leaving future ex-presidents open to prosecution for their actions.

Trump, who is accused of a sprawling effort to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, contends that he is entitled to absolute immunity from the charges. That case is one of four criminal indictments he faces, only one of which has now gone to trial in New York.

What’s next: A final ruling could come sometime in early summer. If Trump wins, there is every reason to think he would scuttle the prosecution.

The New York trial: David Pecker, a former tabloid publisher, testified about how he helped bury scandalous stories about Trump before the 2016 election, including one involving the porn star Stormy Daniels.

Palestinian authorities said yesterday that they have discovered more bodies in a mass grave on the grounds of a hospital in Gaza. They said they have now found 392 bodies, up from the 283 that they had previously identified.

There are conflicting accounts between Israel and the Gazan authorities over how and when some of the bodies were buried. A Times analysis of social media videos and satellite imagery found that Palestinians had dug at least two of the three burial sites weeks before Israeli troops raided the complex.

Hostages: President Biden and the leaders of 17 other nations called on Hamas to release all of the hostages seized in its Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

New York’s highest court overturned Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction on felony sex crime charges yesterday, a staggering reversal in the foundational case of the #MeToo era.

The court ruled that Weinstein did not receive a fair trial: It concluded that the judge had made a crucial mistake by allowing prosecutors to call as witnesses a series of women who said Weinstein had assaulted them — but whose accusations were not part of the charges against him.

Dommaraju Gukesh, a 17-year-old Indian grandmaster, made history. He became the youngest player ever to win the Candidates Tournament — and the youngest to qualify for the World Chess Championship.

South Africans will mark the 30th anniversary of the first post-apartheid elections tomorrow.

Just a month later, on May 29, they will be voting in a national election that could bring about a big shift: The African National Congress, which has governed for those three decades, could lose its majority for the first time.

“It almost feels impossible to separate the election year from the major anniversary year,” my colleague Lynsey Chutel, who reports from Johannesburg, told me.

“The anniversary is forcing not just parties but also South Africans to reflect: ‘What do the last 30 years mean to us?’” she added. “‘And how do we get back that political optimism and economic strength?’”

How does the legacy of apartheid shape life in South Africa today?

Lynsey: If you’re walking down the streets of a suburb in Johannesburg, you can look around at the gains made. It’s a leafy suburb. There are sidewalk cafes. People are chatting.

But the majority of people who are enjoying that progress are white. And the majority of people who are servers or in low-wage jobs are Black. Black South Africans simply haven’t caught up in terms of wealth.

Let’s fast-forward to next month’s election. What is the mood?

The A.N.C.’s popularity is possibly at its lowest, and it has never had to work so hard to convince South Africans to vote for them. Some young people see this vote as being as pivotal as 1994. Many are deeply disillusioned. High unemployment and corruption scandals have eroded their faith in politicians.

Opposition parties are stepping up and saying, “We are finally in a place where we think we can lead now.”

That is a huge shift from 1994, which felt like an affirmation of Nelson Mandela and his party, and the end of apartheid. This year, the mood among the voters I’ve spoken to is, how do we use the elections to get the country back on track and take advantage of that post-apartheid freedom.

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