Trump seeks dismissal of charges in Stormy Daniels hush money case
The move comes during Trump's ongoing civil fraud trial.
As Donald Trump fights a $250 million civil fraud lawsuit in New York, the former president has asked another New York judge to dismiss criminal charges he is facing over hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Trump in April pleaded not guilty to nearly three dozen felony counts of falsifying business records stemming from monthly reimbursement payments to his former fixer Michael Cohen, who paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about a long-denied affair she said she had with Trump.
"President Trump cannot be said to have falsified business records of the Trump Organization by paying his personal attorney using his personal bank accounts," defense attorney Todd Blanche said in the motion, which called the case a "discombobulated package of politically motivated charges."
"The pendency of these proceedings, and the manner in which they were initiated, calls into question the integrity of the criminal justice process, is inconsistent with bedrock due process principles, and is interfering with the campaign of the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election," the motion said.
The Manhattan district attorney's office alleges that Trump and Cohen worked with executives from American Media, Inc. -- owners of the National Enquirer -- to identify and suppress potential negative news stories during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Prosecutors said Trump Organization records were falsified because they indicate the payments to Cohen were part of a "retainer" for legal services that did not exist. The charges were elevated to felonies because the district attorney's office said Trump intended "to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof."
A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said prosecutors would respond in court papers.
Bragg brought the indictment in March after a yearslong investigation that Trump's defense attorneys said violated Trump's rights.
"The delay has prejudiced President Trump, interfered with his ongoing presidential campaign, and violated his due process rights. Accordingly, the Court should dismiss the indictment or, in the alternative, conduct a hearing to determine the reason for the delay," the motion said.
The case is among four criminal prosecutions the former president faces, in addition to the ongoing civil fraud suit and a defamation suit. The trial on the hush money case is scheduled for May of 2024, just weeks after the scheduled start of Trump's federal trial on charges of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The former president has denied all wrongdoing and denounced the charges as a political witch hunt.