Trump’s Last Try At Slowing Hush-Money Trial Is Desperate

Former President Donald Trump Attends Pre-Trial Hearing In New York Hush Money Case

With just a week to go, Donald Trump is once again attempting to delay the start of his highly anticipated hush-money trial in New York City. His odds of success are extremely long.

The New York Times reports that Trump intends to file a lawsuit against Juan Merchan, the judge presiding over the case, whom Trump has repeatedly assailed on social media and in press conferences. The filing has not yet been made public, but CNBC reports that Trump’s legal team is seeking a delay in the trial as they submit two motions to an appeals court asking for the trial to be moved outside of Manhattan and for a stay on a gag order Merchan recently imposed on Trump. Jury selection in the trial is set to begin on Monday, April 15.

Later that day, an appeals-court judge denied Trump’s request for a trial delay, per the Associated Press. An initial ruling on submitted motions could come as early as Monday. Proceedings were already delayed from its original March 25th date to allow for both sides to review newly submitted documents.

In late March, Merchan set a gag order in the trial, barring Trump from making statements about witnesses and potential jurors as well as attorneys, prosecutors, court staff, and their families. However, the judge was forced to amend the order a week later after the former president made several direct attacks on Merchan’s daughter Loren, a Democratic strategist, on social media. Under the new order, Trump is banned from making statements about the families of Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg as well as Merchan, though he is still allowed to make public comments on either man themselves.

This is just the latest attempt by Trump to delay the pending trial. Previously, the former president has called for Merchan’s recusal and asked for the trial to be pushed back until the Supreme Court has weighed in on his argument that he has presidential immunity from prosecution. Merchan denied his request to wait for SCOTUS’s ruling and has yet to weigh in on Trump’s recent call for his recusal. The judge previously declined to step down from the case back in August.

In April 2023, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records. Prosecutors allege that, ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Trump directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to facilitate a payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged past affair. They claim that Trump then altered Trump Organization records to hide the true purpose of the money.

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