Judge Merchan hands Trump another loss with rejection for publicity-related delay

New York Judge Juan Merchan rejected former President Donald Trump’s last-minute attempt to delay his hush money trial on Friday after Trump claimed that press coverage of the case would affect the fairness of the trial.

Merchan said the idea that the trial, which begins jury selection on Monday, should be delayed “indefinitely” is not “tenable” and that the trial would begin as scheduled on April 15.

“[Trump] appears to take the position that his situation and this case are unique and that the pre-trial publicity will never subside. However, this view does not align with reality,” the judge wrote in his order.

Trump’s lawyers attempted to argue that jury members could be biased because of the press coverage, which they labeled as “extremely prejudicial.” But prosecutors claimed much of the attention on the case was the former president’s own fault and that it was not likely to die down.

Prosecutors also noted that Manhattan had more than a million people in its city limits, so surely 12 of them would be “impartial.” 

Friday’s decision is the latest rejection of Trump’s attempts to delay the trial, which looks into whether Trump doctored his company’s records in order to hide a hush money payment to his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. The money was allegedly given to former porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 to keep her quiet about an alleged affair she had with Trump years earlier. Trump has denied the sexual encounter.

The trial will be the first of his four criminal cases to go to trial and will be the first trial of a former president in U.S. history. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts of falsifying his business records. 

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Trump has also tried to get the trial delayed on the appellate level, but all attempts have been denied so far. 

The Washington Examiner has reached out to Trump’s attorneys for comment.

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