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N.Y. Appeals Judge Rejects 11th-Hour Trump Bid to Delay April 15 Criminal Trial

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A New York appeals court judge delivered an 11th-hour ruling and rejected former President Donald Trump’s request to delay his April 15 criminal trial while he fights to move the case out of Manhattan.

The former president’s most recent attempt to postpone the momentous trial was unsuccessful on Monday when a New York appeals court judge denied his request to delay his criminal trial until April 15 while he worked to move the case out of Manhattan.

The state’s mid-level appeals court’s Justice Lizbeth González rendered her decision following an urgent hearing in which Trump’s attorneys requested an indefinite postponement of the trial while they pursue a different venue. Trump was requesting a court order known as an emergency stay, which would keep the trial from commencing on schedule.

This would be the first criminal trial of a former president and the first of Trump’s four criminal indictments scheduled for trial, the Associated Press reported.

The presumed Republican nominee, according to Trump’s attorney, Emil Bove, faces “real potential prejudice” as a defendant in Manhattan, which leans Democratic. Starting on Monday, Bove claimed that jury selection “cannot proceed in a fair manner,” citing defense surveys and an analysis of media coverage.

The only New York City borough that Trump won in 2016 and 2020, Staten Island, is where he has suggested moving the trial to social media.

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The Manhattan district attorney’s office appellate chief, Steven Wu, pointed out that trial Judge Juan M. Merchan had previously denied Trump’s requests to reschedule or reschedule the trial, citing them as premature.

“The question in this case is not whether a random poll of New Yorkers from whatever neighborhood are able to be impartial, it’s about whether a trial court is able to select a jury of 12 impartial jurors,” Wu said. He blamed Trump for stoking pretrial publicity with “countless media appearances talking about the facts of this case, the witnesses, and so on.”

In an additional appeal, Trump’s attorneys are contesting a gag order that was placed on him during the case; Merchan recently extended the order to forbid Trump from discussing the judge’s family. The appeals court suggested that it would consider that case later.

Documents of Trump’s appeals were sealed off and kept private.

After Merchan decided last month that the trial would start on April 15, Trump had promised to file an appeal. To allow them more time to examine recently discovered evidence from a previous federal investigation into the case, his attorneys had begged to postpone the trial until at least the summer.

Due to an issue with the evidence, Merchan had already rescheduled the trial from its original start date of March 25 and declared that no more delays were necessary.

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On Monday, Trump’s attorneys submitted their appeals on two different court dockets. One took the form of a lawsuit against Merchan, giving them a legal means of contesting his decisions.

Article 78 of the New York state law allows for the filing of lawsuits by judges regarding specific rulings. Trump has previously employed this strategy, most notably in an attempt to unsuccessfully postpone his civil fraud case last autumn by going up against the judge.

In this instance, he is charged with fabricating company documents to conceal the type of payments made to his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, who assisted him in suppressing unfavorable news during his 2016 campaign. One of Cohen’s actions involved giving porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to disprove her claims that she had an adulterous relationship with Trump years prior.

In response to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, Trump entered a not-guilty plea last year. He has refuted reports that he had sex with Daniels. The payments made to Cohen, according to his attorneys, were reasonable legal costs.

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Trump’s action The most recent development in his conflicts with Merchan is Monday.

After the judge issued a gag order last month that prevented Trump from speaking in public about the jury, witnesses, and other parties involved in the case, Trump attacked the judge on social media. Merchan extended the gag order to include members of his own family in response to Trump’s complaints.

Citing Merchan’s daughter’s employment as the head of a firm whose clients have included Democratic rivals Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Trump reaffirmed his request last week for the judge to recuse herself from the case.

Because of his daughter’s employment, the former president claims the judge is biased against him and has a conflict of interest. In August of last year, the judge denied a similar request.

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