Judge Rejects Trump Request to Sanction Prosecutors in “Hush Money” Trial

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team

 

 

 

 

A judge has decided that Manhattan prosecutors won’t face penalties for releasing nearly 200,000 pages of evidence shortly before former President Donald Trump’s hush money criminal trial. Initially set to start on March 25, the trial was postponed to April 15 to give Trump’s defense team more time to review the new documents.

Judge Juan Merchan rejected the defense’s request for sanctions, stating that Trump and his lawyers were given adequate time to prepare. The documents, linked to a prior federal investigation, were not considered to have unfairly prejudiced the case.

Trump’s legal team argued that the late release of documents and the inclusion of key witnesses, Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, constituted prosecutorial misconduct. They sought further delays, dismissal of the case, or exclusion of these witnesses. However, Merchan dismissed these claims in March and reaffirmed his position in a written ruling on Thursday.

The defense accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office of delaying evidence to disadvantage Trump and affect his election chances. Cohen, a former lawyer for Trump and now a critic, is a central witness for the prosecution.

Merchan pointed out that the DA’s office wasn’t required to gather evidence from the federal investigation. He criticized Trump’s lawyers for waiting until January 18 to subpoena the records, only nine weeks before the trial’s initial start date, suggesting they should have acted sooner.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying business records by labeling payments to Cohen as legal fees rather than reimbursements for a $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels.

Prosecutors allege this was an effort to shield his 2016 campaign from damaging allegations of extramarital affairs. Trump denies these claims, stating that the payments were legitimate legal expenses.

The trial is now moving towards closing arguments next Tuesday, with jury deliberations expected to follow soon after. Despite the ongoing controversy, this case marks the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

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