New York Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Request to Delay Hush Money Trial

A New York appeals court judge swiftly dismissed former President Donald Trump’s latest attempt to delay his hush money criminal trial. Justice Cynthia Kern took just 12 minutes to reject Trump’s argument that the trial should be postponed while he fights a gag order. This ruling marks the second consecutive day that the state’s mid-level appeals court has refused to grant a delay, significantly narrowing the chances of Trump’s legal team achieving their desired postponement.

Trump’s lawyers sought to delay the trial until a full panel of appellate court judges could hear arguments on lifting or modifying the gag order. They claimed that the order, which prohibits Trump from making public statements about jurors, witnesses, and others involved in the case, infringes upon his First Amendment rights. Trump’s legal team argued that the gag order hampers his ability to campaign for president and defend himself against criminal charges, while his critics, including Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, freely criticize him. Both Cohen and Daniels are key witnesses for the prosecution.

Steven Wu, the appellate chief for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, countered Trump’s argument by emphasizing the public interest in protecting the trial’s integrity. Wu highlighted Trump’s history of making inflammatory and denigrating comments about individuals involved in the case, stating that these were not political debates but rather insults. Wu also mentioned that some witnesses have been hesitant to testify due to concerns about their names being exposed in the press, particularly those who would testify about record-keeping practices.

Despite the gag order, Trump still has the freedom to discuss various issues, including making political arguments and commenting on Judge Juan M. Merchan and District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The trial’s jury selection is scheduled to commence on April 15, barring any further court action.

Judge Merchan initially imposed the gag order last month at the prosecution’s request, and he expanded it recently to include comments about his own family after Trump made false claims about his daughter, a Democratic political consultant. Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly attempted to delay the trial, including requesting Judge Merchan’s recusal due to alleged bias and conflicts of interest. They argued that Merchan’s daughter’s work as president of Authentic Campaigns, a firm with Democratic clients, created a conflict. Trump’s attorneys also claimed that the expanded gag order shielded the Merchans from legitimate public criticism.

Merchan had initially resisted imposing a gag order, acknowledging Trump’s status as a former president and current candidate and ensuring he had ample opportunity to speak in furtherance of his candidacy. However, as the trial approached, Merchan grew concerned about Trump’s rhetoric potentially disrupting the proceedings. In response to Trump’s social media outburst, Merchan expanded the gag order on April 1 to prevent Trump from making statements about the judge’s family or the district attorney’s family.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments made to Michael Cohen. The payments were allegedly made to suppress Stormy Daniels’ claims of an extramarital sexual encounter with Trump. Trump’s defense argues that the payments were legitimate legal expenses.

Author: CrimeDoor

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