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Judge Merchan denies another Trump bid to delay imminent hush money trial

Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK — Denying yet another bid by Donald Trump to delay his pending trial, Judge Juan Merchan said on Friday that the former president personally generated “much, if not most,” of the media circus he complains about.

Merchan agreed with prosecutors’ arguments opposing Trump’s request for an indefinite delay because of intense media coverage, writing that the situation “is not new to him and at least in part, of his own doing.”

“In just the past 12 months, defendant has very publicly been involved in a multitude of criminal and civil cases across several states in both federal and state jurisdictions,” the Manhattan Supreme Court judge wrote in his order, citing Trump’s trials in the New York attorney general’s business fraud case and E. Jean Carroll’s sexual assault and defamation lawsuits.

“In those … matters, he was personally responsible for generating much, if not most, of the surrounding publicity with his public statements, which were often made just a few steps outside the courtroom where the proceedings were being conducted, and with his unrelenting media posts attacking those he perceived to be responsible for his plight.”

Lawyers for Trump last month asked Merchan to delay the trial, set to begin with jury selection on Monday, “in light of exceptionally prejudicial pretrial publicity, which is substantial, ongoing, and likely to increase.”

Citing surveys they commissioned, the Trump lawyers claimed Manhattan was “overwhelmingly biased” and it would be impossible for the presumptive Republican nominee in November’s presidential election to get a fair trial.

Prosecutors countered that Trump’s legal team cherry-picked parts of a survey that bolstered their delay bid and ignored the 70% of respondents familiar with the case who said they could “definitely or probably” be impartial. They also questioned how the defense gathered respondents and ensured samples were random, as neither was explained.

 

Merchan said he was similarly skeptical.

“Nonetheless, even if the court were to credit the results in full, it would still find that that the best way to address defendant’s concern is through effective” jury selection, the judge wrote.

The ruling marks the fourth against Trump this week in his efforts to put off what’s likely to be the only one of his four trials held before the election.

He has pleaded not guilty to 34 felonies alleging he falsified business records to disguise an illegal hush money scheme before the 2016 presidential election to hide damaging information from the public.

Lawyers for Trump declined to comment, as did the Manhattan DA.

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