For 3rd day in a row, appeals judge again rejects Trump's bid to delay upcoming hush money trial

Trump has now tried and failed three times this week to delay the hearing.

For the third day, an appeals judge on Wednesday denied former President Donald Trump's request to delay his New York criminal hush money trial, currently scheduled to begin next week.

Appellate Division First Department Judge Ellen Gesmer issued a one-sentence order denying the request for a 30-minute interim injunction.

A panel of appellate judges will consider Trump's written arguments to recuse Judge Juan Mercen from the case and challenge some of Mercen's rulings later this month.

Defense attorney Emil Bowe argued Wednesday that Trump is barred from raising objections to the testimony based on the presidential immunity to challenge Judge Merson's ruling, as well as the judge's refusal to recuse himself from the case.

“Judge Mercen has a compelling duty to recuse himself,” Bowe said, arguing that Mercen's daughter's work at a Democratic political consulting firm created an “unacceptable appearance of impropriety.”

“It can only be done once, and it has to be done right because of the impact it will have on this election,” Bowe told Judge Kesmer.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office called the defense argument “completely without merit,” saying the relative's independent political activities were no reason to challenge Merson's credibility.

“There was no conflict that warranted the judge's recusal,” said Steven Wu, a lawyer for the DA's office.

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However, Merson's daughter created a financial conflict of interest, saying her firm received $18 million in business from Democratic candidates.

Merson's attorney, Lisa Evans of the Administrative Office of the Court, pushed back.

“There is no evidence that Judge Merchan will benefit from the outcome of this trial,” Evans said.

A delay to the April 15 hearing at this point would be “incredibly disruptive,” Wu said, citing security requirements and the complexity of the case.

“It's a big machine, and it's not going to be a simple test,” Wu said.

Trump tried and failed twice earlier this week, delaying the trial when he challenged a gag order and tried to move the case out of Manhattan.

Merson declined to recuse himself from the case last August, writing that “this court has examined its conscience and is confident in its ability to be fair and impartial.”

Earlier this month, Merchan ruled that presidential immunity did not apply to Trump's hush money case because Trump failed to invoke the protection in a timely manner.

“This court finds that the defendant had numerous opportunities to raise his presidential exemption claim prior to March 7, 2024,” Merchan wrote.

The former president pleaded guilty last April to a 34-count indictment accusing him of falsifying business records in connection with payments made by his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to adult film actress Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Jury selection for the trial is scheduled for Monday in New York City.

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