Trump Denounces ‘Lawfare’ as Judge Rejects His Latest, Last-Ditch Effort To Delay His Stormy Daniels Trial 

An appellate judge denied Mr. Trump’s request to delay the trial on the grounds that the trial judge, whose daughter is a Democratic operative, is biased against him.

Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images
President Trump appears with his lawyer, Emil Bove, for a pre-trial hearing in a hush money case in criminal court on March 25, 2024, at New York City. Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump’s defense attorneys were at the appeals court again on Wednesday, requesting for a third time this week to postpone his upcoming hush money trial, set to begin next Monday. A single appellate court judge, Ellen Gesmer, again denied their request.  

Wednesday night, a furious Mr. Trump took to his social media network, Truth Social, to denounce “lawfare,” a term that has become in vogue in recent months among critics of the various prosecutions of Mr. Trump. He is facing criminal charges in four different cases.

Judge Ellen Gesmer rejected President Trump’s appeal. NY Courts

“At what point are the actions of a sitting President, using LAWFARE against his opponent for purposes of Election Interference, considered ILLEGAL? I believe, as do various highly respected legal scholars, that Crooked Joe Biden has long since crossed over that very sacred threshold!!!” he wrote.

Continuing to press their case that the trial judge in the hush money trial is biased against Mr. Trump, defense attorneys asked to stay the trial, because “the unconstitutional effects of Justice Merchan’s rulings are causing ongoing, irreparable, constitutional harms to Petitioner and the voting public and, if not stopped, will prevent Petitioner from receiving a fair trial.” 

Attorneys for President Trump Todd Blanche (L) and Emil Bove (C) arrive at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Court House October 16, 2023 at Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

But the appellate chief for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Steven Wu, said postponing the trial would be “incredibly disruptive,” and there was a “powerful public interest” in starting the trial as planned on Monday. 

A defense attorney, Emil Bove, disagreed. It would be in the public interest, he said, that Mr. Trump gets a fair trial and that was only possible if the appeals court postponed it until the bias issues were resolved.

“This can only be done once, and it must be done right,” Mr. Bove said. 

Mr. Trump has been denouncing Judge Merchan and his adult daughter, Loren, a Democratic operative, for bias. In response to Mr. Trump’s fulminations, Judge Merchan gagged him from further criticizing his daughter. Mr. Trump’s appeals relate to his objections to the gag order.

Stormy Daniels attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Neon’s “Pleasure” at Linwood Dunn Theater on May 11, 2022 at Los Angeles. Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

On Monday, defense attorneys filed an Article 78 proceeding with New York’s Appellate Division First Department. Article 78 is a legal maneuver that allows petitioners to challenge an action, or inaction, by agencies of New York state and local governments, such as judges, tribunals, boards, and even private companies whose existence is based on statutory authority.

Mr. Trump has, so far, raised three main issues. He wants the trial to be moved out of Manhattan, to a different jurisdiction, like Staten Island, because he believes he will not find jurors in Manhattan, where he is deeply unpopular, who are able to judge him objectively. Second, he wants to remove the gag order that Judge Merchan, imposed on him. Mr. Trump argues that, during an election season, such a restriction infringes on his political speech. 

Furthermore, witnesses like his former personal lawyer, and current nemesis, Michael Cohen, along with the porn star Stormy Daniels, are free to talk about the case to the media, and Mr. Trump wants to defend himself from the falsehoods, he says, that they spread about him. Last but not least, Mr. Trump requests that the judge recuse himself, because his daughter works for an agency that organizes election campaigns for Democrats. 

This last issue, the bias of the judge due to his daughter’s work, was being argued on Wednesday. The New York Times reported that “nearly a dozen legal experts contacted” for their article had never witnessed any defendant “filing three emergency appeals in three days.” A former New York judge, Barry Kamins, told the Times, “​I’ll ask you: Has a former president ever been prosecuted before? Everything about this case is a first.”

Judge Juan Merchan poses for a picture in his chambers in New York, Thursday, March 14, 2024. AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Loren Merchan, Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter, has worked as a Democratic operative. Facebook

Mr. Trump, the first former president to face a criminal trial in American history, has been charged with 34 felony counts for falsification of business records. The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, accuses Mr. Trump of attempting to hide an alleged sexual encounter with Stormy Daniels from voters during the 2016 election.

Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, says she had sex with the future president one time during a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe in 2006. A decade later, she was paid $130,000 to keep silent about the affair during the presidential election. Her fee was paid by Cohen. According to prosecutors, Mr. Trump later repaid this debt to Cohen, but fraudulently disguised the reimbursement as legal expenses. Mr. Trump has pleaded innocent to all charges and denies ever having had sex with Ms. Clifford. 

“This Judge should be recused, and the case should be thrown out,” Mr. Trump wrote on his Truth Social account last week. “There has virtually never been a more conflicted judge than this one.”

Loren Merchan, who works as a Democratic political consultant, has a client list including two of Mr. Trump’s most committed enemies, Vice President Harris and California Congressman Adam Schiff.  

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a press conference following the arraignment of President Trump April 4, 2023 at New York City. Kena Betancur/Getty Images

An article in the New York Post claimed that two of Ms. Merchan’s major Democratic clients raised $93 million in campaign donations by using the hush-money case “in their solicitation emails.” 

On Wednesday, Mr. Bove argued, as the defense has in previous recusal motions, that the judge is profiting from the hush-money case.

But, “There is absolutely no evidence to show that Judge Merchan will stand to benefit from the outcome of this trial,” the appellate judge, Lisa Evans, told the attorneys. Judge Evans issued an interim denial. A full panel of five judges will hear the arguments on April 22. The prosecution must submit its written response by April 17. The defense can then submit their answer to that response by 10 am on April 22. 

The New York Sun

© 2024 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use