Trump’s Last-Minute Plan To Save His Legal Case

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – On Monday, Donald Trump sought to have a New York appeals court overturn a gag order against him and requested the relocation of his trial on charges of falsifying business records, away from Manhattan, aiming to postpone the trial, which is scheduled to start in a week.

An emergency hearing was set for the afternoon by a mid-level state appeals court judge following a filing by Trump’s legal team, challenging the decisions of Manhattan Judge Juan M. Merchan. The details of the filings are sealed, but according to a source who spoke to The Associated Press under anonymity, they concern Trump’s gag order, which now includes a ban on discussing the judge’s family, and Trump’s request to shift the trial from Democrat-leaning Manhattan.

Trump vowed to appeal after Merchan decreed the trial would commence on April 15th, despite his attorneys’ request for a delay until summer for additional time to assess newly received evidence from a previous federal probe. Merchan had already postponed the trial from its original March 25th date due to the evidence concerns and declined further delay.

Trump’s legal representatives launched appeals on two fronts, one directly challenging Merchan’s decisions. In New York, under a legal provision called Article 78, certain judicial actions can be contested through lawsuits against judges.

The appeals court has not made any filings from these appeals publicly accessible.

This impending trial marks Trump’s first of four criminal indictments to proceed to trial, and it would be the first time a former president faces a criminal trial.

Trump faces charges of manipulating his company’s financial records to conceal payments to Michael Cohen, his former attorney, who managed hush money arrangements during Trump’s 2016 campaign. This includes a payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to prevent disclosure of an alleged affair with Trump, which he denies.

Last year, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, claiming the payments were legitimate legal fees.

Trump’s latest legal maneuver reflects ongoing tensions with Judge Merchan, especially after Merchan imposed a comprehensive gag order in response to Trump’s social media criticisms. Trump has continually pushed for Merchan’s recusal, citing a conflict of interest due to Merchan’s daughter’s professional connections to Democratic figures, including Joe Biden.

Despite multiple attempts by Trump to delay his trial, including a recent bid pending before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning presidential immunity, Judge Merchan has mostly denied these requests. Trump has publicly advocated for the trial’s relocation to Staten Island, where he garnered significant support in the past presidential elections.

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