Judge rejects Trump's latest bid to delay hush money case


New York
CNN

For the third time in three days, a New York appeals judge has denied the former president's bid Donald Trump To delay his hush money investigation.

Trump on Wednesday asked a New York appeals court for emergency relief to block the criminal trial, which is set to begin Monday, from going forward so he can appeal a lower court's ruling on presidential immunity and relieve a judge from the case.

Minutes after hearing arguments, Associate Justice Ellen Gesmer denied an interim motion to halt the trial.

Wednesday's court motion is the latest in a series of moves by Trump at the appeals court this week to try to halt the trial before its scheduled start. Former presidents can still appeal denied motions to the New York State Supreme Court of Appeals. However, the court did not have to accept the petition.

Trump lawyer Emil Bowe said at Wednesday's hearing that Trump was seeking the stay because of three issues that go to the “core, fundamental fairness” of the investigation: recusal, restrictions on filing security resolutions and presidential immunity.

“It can only be done once, and it has to be done right because of the impact it will have on this election,” Bowe said. “There are questions about the judge. There are questions about our ability to file motions.

The Manhattan district attorney's office urged the court to reject the latest attempt to delay the trial. “There is a powerful public interest in ensuring that this trial moves forward on the scheduled date,” Manhattan District Attorney's Office Chief of Appeals Steven Wu said Wednesday.

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Earlier this week, Trump's legal team asked an appeals court to delay the trial so he can challenge a gag order barring the former president from providing statements about witnesses, the judge's family members and lawyers and jurors. Trump's lawyers also argued that the trial in Manhattan could not be held because of pre-trial publicity. Both times, requests for emergency measures to delay the trial were quickly denied.

Wednesday's latest motion came on a day when the appeals court's afternoon calendar was packed with previously scheduled arguments occupying the main floor courtroom.

To accommodate the emergency proceedings, the basement of the courthouse was converted into a temporary courtroom. Tables and chairs were rearranged to serve as a bench for judges and two tables facing it for lawyers. It is believed to be the first time such a shelter has been done.

A room with side toilets is usually where lawyers wait before arguing their cases.

At the hearing, Bowe objected to restrictions on filing motions, arguing that Trump's attorneys would not be able to file the motion in time if there was a motion to block the testimony of Michael Cohen, who is scheduled to testify the next day.

“That 72 hours in the middle of the trial eliminates the ability to file that motion from one day to the next,” Bowe said, adding that it is inconsistent with Trump's constitutional right to defend himself.

Regarding the president's exemption, Bowe said: “This is a situation where a judge overstepped his authority in a situation with very serious implications.”

Wu responded that Trump did not follow the proper procedure to challenge the judge's rulings.

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“Even if a trial court erred in adopting a procedural order, the solution is to wait until the final judgment and deal with the direct appeal,” Wu said.

Wu also pushed back on claims that Judge Juan Merchan should recuse himself from the case. “Their rebuttal arguments are completely without merit,” Wu said, adding that the advisory board had looked into this particular conflict and determined there was no conflict.

Lisa Evans, an attorney representing the court, contested Trump's motion to recuse, saying, “There is no evidence that Judge Merchan will benefit from the outcome of this investigation. There is no evidence. ”

In an earlier motion, Trump asked Mercen to delay the trial until the Supreme Court rules on Trump's presidential immunity in an unrelated federal criminal case involving his alleged meddling in the 2020 election. This month. Merson denied the motion, saying it was too late.

Bowe argued Wednesday that the ruling prevents Trump from objecting to the introduction of certain evidence at trial, such as tweets he made while president.

Wu responded that it was a misreading of the judge's ruling.

In a brief two-page notice of motion filed earlier in the day, Trump's attorneys said Mercen overstepped his authority when he issued a ruling denying Trump's motion to delay the hearing pending a Supreme Court ruling on immunity.

The notice also said Trump is seeking to challenge the judge's ability to oversee the investigation. Earlier, Trump filed a motion asking Mercen to recuse himself from the case, saying the judge was conflicted based on his daughter's work at a political consulting firm that worked for Democrats. The judge has yet to rule on the petition.

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After CNN reviewed the notice of petition in the public docket, the filing was sealed.

This topic and story has been updated with additional improvements.

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