Trump Suing Hush Money Judge to Stop Criminal Trial

Council on Foreign Relations

Maeve Bidonde, Staff Writer

Former President Donald Trump has made another attempt to delay his court proceedings for his growing number of charges. A year ago, Trump was indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records in his companies. These charges related to Trump repaying his lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, for arranging a hush money scheme to prevent any releases of potentially compromising stories about him and his many affairs. The filings for the lawsuit appeared on the docket mere hours after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office shot down the demands from Trump’s attorneys to remove the judge from the case. 

“The district attorney called an attempt to ‘pollute’ the court and continue Mr Trump’s attacks ‘as part of a meritless effort to call the integrity of these proceedings into question,” Bragg’s office has said to The Independent in response to Trump’s attacks. “That motion represented ‘yet another last-ditch attempt to address [the] defendant’s real objective to delay this proceeding indefinitely.’’

This isn’t the first time Trump has tried and failed to pull a similar stunt to delay the inevitable.  Last year a similar lawsuit was brought against Judge Merchan, who issued a gag order to prevent Trump from bashing and harassing those involved in proceedings against him including judicial figures. This came after Trump had essentially lashed out at the Judge’s daughter on social media. Bragg had initially asked for a limited gag order due to Trump’s history of posting inflammatory remarks at those wrapped up in his proceedings. One of those posts was a picture depicting Trump swinging a bat at the back of Bragg’s head. 

Last week the judge expanded the gag order to now include the family members of those involved in the civil proceedings against Trump. Its hope is to combat the threat Trump holds to the integrity of the cases against him. Judge Merchan rejected Trump’s request to delay the trial until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on his presidential immunity defense on a separate criminal case. Trump then requested the proceedings be moved to Staten Island, which was the only borough in New York City that he won in the 2016 Presidential Elections. Trump’s hush money trial took place earlier this week. 

The main argument Trump’s lawyers make is that it’s unfair for Trump to be “muzzled” while his former Lawyer Michael Cohen continuously attacks him. They also argued that the gag order was infringing on Trump’s First Amendment rights. 

“Merchan became increasingly wary of Trump’s rhetoric disrupting the historic trial as it grew near,” as according to AP News. “In issuing the gag order, he said his obligation to ensuring the integrity of the proceedings outweighed First Amendment concerns.”

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