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Donald Trump’s Lawyer Forced to Leave Mid-Trial

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


An attorney for former President Donald Trump had to leave a hearing in progress in New York City to attend a hearing in Florida, also related to the legal matters facing the ex-president.

Christopher Kise, a member of Trump’s legal team in multiple cases, skipped a hearing in Trump’s civil fraud trial in Manhattan to participate in a hearing in Trump’s criminal documents case before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was hearing both cases simultaneously in Florida.

“We’ll miss you,” New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron said just after Kise informed him that he was leaving the hearing, according to a post from Law360 reporter Stewart Bishop on X, formerly Twitter.

Trump’s Florida co-counsel, Todd Blanche, was expected to attend the hearing in person, but a court filing asking for Kise to be allowed to appear in the documents case “telephonically” indicated otherwise, Newsweek reported.

On Wednesday, a hearing was scheduled in the Cannon-supervised case, one of two federal criminal cases against the ex-president. The trial is scheduled to begin on May 20.

Trump claims that any legal action taken against him constitutes “election interference” and has therefore asked that the trial be delayed until after the 2024 presidential election.

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In a filing made last month, the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith argued against the request to postpone the trial, stating that there is “no justification to delay the pretrial schedule and trial of this case.”

Trump is facing 40 felony charges in Florida for allegedly trying to conceal sensitive government documents while in his possession after leaving office.

In his second federal criminal trial, Trump is being tried for four felonies connected to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and the subsequent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2019.

Trump is facing a total of 91 charges across four indictments; this includes election subversion charges in Georgia amounting to 13 felonies and business fraud charges in New York amounting to 34 felonies.

Kise argued in a court filing last month that federal prosecutors are trying to violate Trump’s rights because of the close proximity of his trials.

“The fact that they continue to contend that it is appropriate and not a violation of President Trump’s due process rights to push forward with back-to-back multi-month trials in different districts with wholly different facts—over a defendant’s objection—reveals a central truth about these cases,” wrote Kise.

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There are multiple civil cases pending against the ex-president, and Engoron is overseeing one of them in New York. Summary judgment by Engoron found Trump guilty of fraud; the trial is proceeding to establish the severity of the punishment.

Trump has claimed that he is the victim of a political “persecution” and a “witch hunt” orchestrated by Democrats, and he has pleaded not guilty to all of the criminal charges against him.

Alina Habba, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, said that the possibility of Trump serving time in prison is “not even something we think about.”

When Carl Higbie of Newsmax asked Habba if Trump could go to jail for breaking one of the gag orders, she said, “He’s protected by Secret Service, period. So, I always tell people when they’re panicked, “Listen, he’s protected by Secret Service, number one. Number two, he did nothing wrong.” So, when people go to jail it’s because they’ve done something wrong. Do we have crooked situations in and out of court? Absolutely. Could they try? Probably, but it won’t work because there is still trial process, there is still facts, and unfortunately they’re not going to win on the facts.”

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She added: “Secret Service will always protect President Trump. That’s the truth, they have to wherever he is, but it’s not even something we think about, to be honest, because this is all political. It’s really not— there’s no criminal acts that he’s done. There’s no civil wrongs that he’s done, unless making money for banks is a civil wrong all of a sudden.”

“Orange man bad,” responded Higbie, to which Habba said, “It’s Trump derangement syndrome at its best. I’m not worried about him, he’s not worried, and the American public shouldn’t be worried.”

In both the civil fraud case and the federal election obstruction case, Trump has been issued a gag order.

In his civil fraud case, Trump was fined $10,000 last week for breaking the gag order. While this was going on, on Sunday, D.C. Judge Tanya Chutkan reinstated a gag order preventing Trump from attacking court staffers and witnesses, prompting the former president to lash out against Chutkan on Truth Social.

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