New York Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s 3rd Request to Delay Monday’s Criminal Trial

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump visits an Atlanta restaurant, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Jason Allen)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump’s third attempt to push off his criminal trial in New York failed Wednesday. An appeals court judge Wednesday swiftly rejected the latest salvo from the former president’s lawyers, who argued he should be on the campaign trail rather than “in a courtroom defending himself” starting next week.

Trump’s lawyers had asked the state’s mid-level appeals court to halt the case indefinitely while they fight to remove the trial judge and challenge several of his pretrial rulings, which they argue have seriously hindered the presumptive Republican nominee’s defense.

Justice Ellen Gesmer’s ruling, after a third straight day of emergency hearings on Trump’s delay requests, was yet another loss for Trump, who has tried repeatedly to get the trial postponed. Barring further court action, the ruling clears the way for jury selection to begin next Monday.

“We’re here for this stay because there are restrictions in place that cannot operate in a constitutional way in a trial environment,” Trump lawyer Emil Bove argued at the hearing, which was held in a court basement lobby because the regular courtroom was in use.

“It’s an incredibly important trial. It’s a historic, unprecedented proceeding,” Bove said, adding: “This can only be done once and it must be done right.”

Trump’s New York case, in which he is accused of falsifying business records to cover up payments made to suppress harmful personal information, is the first of his four criminal indictments slated to go to trial and would be the first criminal trial ever of a former president.

Adding to a litany of complaints registered this week with the appeals court, Bove argued that trial Judge Juan Merchan “exceeded his authority” in refusing to postpone the case until the Supreme Court rules on an immunity claim Trump raised in another of his criminal cases. Trump’s lawyers argue some evidence in the business records case could be excluded if the Supreme Court rules in his favor.

Merchan last week declared that request untimely, ruling that Trump’s lawyers had “myriad opportunities” to raise the immunity issue before they finally did so in March, well after a deadline for pretrial motions had passed.

In his other trials regarding the events of January 1, Trump contends he is immune from prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office. His lawyers have not raised that as a defense in the New York case, but they argued that some evidence — including Trump’s social media posts about former lawyer Cohen — is from his time as president and should be excluded from the trial because of his immunity protections.

The Supreme Court is to hear arguments in that matter on April 25.

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