Criminal Hush Money Trial for Trump: Lawyers Seek Delay, Citing Fairness Concerns

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/02/2024
The criminal hush money trial for Donald Trump is coming up quickly. His lawyers have asked the judge to delay it by a "significant" amount. They say the Republican presidential nominee can not get a fair jury because of "prejudicial pretrial publicity."

The trial on charges of forging business records must be put on hold until the press coverage "abates," Trump's lawyers wrote in a filing to the New York Supreme Court last week. But since making that request, Trump has attacked the judge in charge of the trial and the judge's adult daughter in a lot of public social media posts, which makes the trial look less honest.

Judge Juan Merchan put a gag order on Trump, which meant he could not say anything about possible witnesses or other people involved in the case.

There is nothing in the gag order that says Trump can not hit the judge directly. Thursday, prosecutors asked Merchan to "clarify or confirm" that the order means family members of the court are safe.

In a string of recent Truth Social posts, Trump has asked Merchan to step down from the case, saying that he is biased against Trump. Several of those posts talk about how Merchan's daughter works for a Democratic political company, and at least one of them has her full name and picture.

But in a court document asking for a delay in the trial, Trump's lawyers said that the jury pool was unfit because of the press, not because of the former president.

They wrote, "It is clear that potential jurors in Manhattan have been exposed to huge amounts of biased and unfair media coverage relating to this case." They backed this up with a poll of 400 New York residents.

When they filed, they said, "Many of the potential jurors already wrongly believe that President Trump is guilty."

Additionally, they pointed out that a "media study" had found that many stories had "prejudicial discussion of other proceedings involving President Trump and inaccurate and irrelevant discussions of alleged sexual misconduct, including false claims regarding 'rape.'"

It was found that Trump physically abused writer E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s and then lied about her years later in a different federal civil trial that happened last year.

According to the defense lawyers' filing, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has "used strategic leaks" to bring charges against Trump for changing business records to hide a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The filing also said that the DA's office planned Allen Weisselberg's sentencing, a former executive for the Trump Organization who pleaded guilty to lying last month, close to the trial date on purpose to get more news coverage. The judge will decide Weisselberg's sentence on April 10, five days before the hush money hearing starts.

The filing also says that Trump "cannot get a fair trial in New York County right now" because Daniels and Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, are still criticizing him.

The lawyers wrote, "Therefore, the Court should postpone the trial date until the unfair media coverage stops."

The filing is from March 18, but it became public last week after a meeting on another Trump request to have the charges against him dropped or the trial moved to a later date.

During that meeting, Merchan told the lawyers for Trump that jury selection would begin on April 15, even though the DA's office had not broken any rules about sharing information. The judge did let those lawyers file their move to delay the trial because of bad press, though.

According to defense lawyer Todd Blanche, the news media that has grown is not because of President Trump.

Matthew Colangelo, the prosecutor, said that the chance of the trial being delayed because of the media attention is "extremely unlikely."

The case is the first of four criminal cases against Trump that are going to trial. Colangelo told the judge that the case would get more attention. The lawyer also said that Trump "has caused and exacerbated" the constant media attention. Merchan gave the DA's office one week to send in its full answer.


Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Wayne Dupree, Privacy Policy