For 3rd straight day, appellate judge again denies Trump's bid to delay upcoming hush money trial

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

April 10, 2024, 5:24 PM

For a third straight day, an appellate judge on Wednesday denied a request from former President Donald Trump to delay his New York criminal hush money trial, currently scheduled to start next week.

Justice Ellen Gesmer of the Appellate Division First Department took 30 minutes to issue a one-sentence order denying the request for a stay.

A panel of appellate judges will consider Trump's written arguments about recusing Judge Juan Merchan from the case and objecting to some of Merchan's rulings later this month.

Defense attorney Emil Bove had argued Wednesday that Trump needs time to challenge a ruling by Judge Merchan barring the defense from raising objections to evidence based on presidential immunity, as well as the judge's refusal to recuse himself from the case.

"Justice Merchan has a mandatory obligation to recuse himself," Bove said, arguing that Merchan's daughter's work for a Democratic political consulting company created an "unacceptable appearance of impropriety."

"This can only be done once, and it must be done right because of the impact it will have on this election," Bove told Justice Gesmer.

Prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney's office called the defense argument "completely meritless," saying a relative's independent political activities are no reason to challenge Merchan's credibility.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wis., April 2, 2024.
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wis., April 2, 2024.
Brian Snyder/Reuters, FILE

"There is no conflict warranting the judge's recusal," said Steven Wu, an attorney with the DA's office.

The defense, however, suggested Merchan's daughter created a financial conflict of interest, saying her firm has received $18 million in business from Democratic candidates.

An attorney for Merchan, Lisa Evans of the Office of Court Administration, pushed back.

"There is absolutely no evidence to show that Judge Merchan will stand to benefit from the outcome of this trial," Evans said.

A delay of the April 15 trial at this point would be "incredibly disruptive," Wu said, citing the security requirements and the complexity of the case.

"It is a massive machine and this is not going to be a simple trial," Wu said.

Trump had earlier tried, and failed, twice this week to delay the trial while he challenges a gag order and while he tries to get the case moved out of Manhattan.

Merchan declined to recuse himself from the case last August, writing that "this Court has examined its conscience and is certain in its ability to be fair and impartial."

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

"This Court finds that Defendant had myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024," Merchan wrote.

The former president last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied all wrongdoing.

Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to get underway this coming Monday in New York City.

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