New York appeals court denies second Trump effort to delay falsified documents case News
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New York appeals court denies second Trump effort to delay falsified documents case

A New York appellate judge denied on Tuesday former US President Donald Trump’s latest bid to delay his falsified documents criminal trial, set to begin on April 15. Trump motioned to overturn a gag order imposed by the judge overseeing the criminal trial, Judge Juan Merchan. In her Tuesday order, Associate Justice Cynthia Kern denied Trump’s motion and request to delay the trial.

Trump’s request for a delay was a part of a series of last-ditch efforts to postpone the start of the trial. In a brief, one-sentence order, Kern denied Trump’s Article 78 motion, pertaining to Merchan’s gag order. The gag order at issue in Trump’s motion prohibits Trump from attacking “reasonably foreseeable witnesses,” lawyers involved in the case, court staff and their families. Recently, Merchan expanded the order to include the family of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading the falsified documents case against Trump.

Kern’s decision means that a full panel will now hear Trump’s request for five appeals court judges.  However, this process will unlikely conclude before the trial’s start date. Kern’s ruling also comes after another appeals court judge rejected a separate attempt by Trump to delay the trial, this time based on different grounds. Trump requested a postponement until his appeal to move the case out of Manhattan was resolved. His legal counsel claim Trump cannot have a fair trial in New York, as it is biased against him. Further, Trump’s legal counsel says that because of the case, Trump will most likely be off the presidential campaign trail for a month; thus, the case amounts to election interference.

The jury in this trial will be an anonymous group of New Yorkers. In the court documents outlining the jury questions and guidelines, the potential jurors are asked about any bias for or against Trump and—as is protocol—”Can you promise to set aside anything you may have heard or read about this case and render your verdict based solely on the evidence presented in this courtroom and the law as given to you by the judge?” The instruction also reminds potential jurors that the US Constitution provides that a defendant has no burden to introduce evidence or testify in a criminal case against them, and no prejudice should come from that.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of “falsifying business records in the first degree” in the case pending before Merchan. The charges stem from alleged “hush money” payments made from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep potentially damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election. If the case proceeds on the scheduled April 15 date, it will be the first of four criminal trials pending against the former president to go to trial. 

Trump’s efforts to delay the trial continue, as he posted Wednesday on Truth Social that new evidence has been presented of an official statement from Daniels pertaining to the case. For the time being, Kern’s decision keeps the trial on track for its scheduled Monday, April 15, start date.