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DA Blasts Trump for Trying to Delay Hush Money Trial Over Publicity

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a campaign event on April 02, 2024 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg urged a judge to reject the eleventh-hour bid by Donald Trump to delay his upcoming criminal hush money trial due to biased media coverage.

Bragg, who accuses Trump of falsifying business records in a scheme to conceal a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, said in a court filing shared Wednesday that the former president himself is to blame for the rabid press.

Trump’s “own incessant rhetoric is generating significant publicity, and it would be perverse to reward [him] with an adjournment based on media attention he is actively seeking,” Bragg told New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan.

Trump “simply cannot have it both ways: complaining about the prejudicial effect of pretrial publicity, while seeking to pollute the jury pool himself by making baseless and inflammatory accusations about this trial, specific witnesses, individual prosecutors, and the Court itself,” Bragg wrote.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is also wrong to claim that the deluge of publicity means he can’t get a fair jury, the D.A. wrote.

An “indefinite adjournment” is also unwarranted, Bragg added, because the media’s focus on the case is unlikely to recede.

Trump last month asked for a “significant” delay of the trial — which is set to begin jury selection on April 15 — until the publicity surrounding it “subsides.”

That request marked Trump’s eighth attempt to push back the start of the trial, Bragg noted in his filing Wednesday.

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The D.A. argued that Trump has failed to show either that the press coverage of the case has been prejudicial to him, or that the jury pool has been tainted.

And since the publicity is likely to increase, the solution “is thus to hold this trial sooner rather than later,” Bragg wrote.

Trump’s attorneys argued that the pool of potential jurors has been exposed to “huge amounts of biased and unfair media coverage,” and that many of them “already wrongfully believe that President Trump is guilty.”

After they filed that delay request, Merchan imposed a gag order barring Trump from public remarks about likely witnesses and jurors, and from making certain statements about other figures involved in the case and their family members.

Trump responded with a social media tirade against the judge and the case, while also targeting the judge’s adult daughter over her work for a Democratic political firm. At least one of Trump’s posts on Truth Social included the daughter’s full name and picture.

Bragg on Monday urged Merchan to expand the gag order, calling Trump’s rhetoric “dangerous, violent, and reprehensible.”

Merchan did so Monday night, explicitly prohibiting Trump from attacking family members of the court and the district attorney.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a press conference to discuss his indictment of former President Donald Trump, outside the Manhattan Federal Court in New York, April 4, 2023. 

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

“The average observer must now, after hearing Defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well,” Merchan wrote in that order.

“Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

Trump’s lawyers now are once again trying to get the judge removed from the case by pointing to his daughter’s work for Authentic Campaigns, which lists among its clients Trump’s Democratic rival, President Joe Biden.

Merchan had already rejected a prior attempt for his recusal, which similarly argued that the daughter’s political career created an appearance of bias.

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