Trump sues New York judge overseeing hush money case in effort to delay trial

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Former President Trump on Monday sued the New York judge overseeing his money case to maintain his silence over the gag order he imposed on the former president, a last-minute attempt to delay the trial that is scheduled to begin next week.

Judge Juan Merchán’s gag order prohibits Trump from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and the judge’s family, but does not prevent him from throwing insults at the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg (Democrat), or the judge himself.

The documents were sealed, although several media outlets have reported that they belong to the gag order. The Hill sought comment from Trump’s lawyers and his campaign on the lawsuit, which essentially functions as an appeal of the gag order.

Merchan cited Trump’s “undisputed record” of attacking those involved in his legal affairs in his original order limiting the former president’s speech. He originally refrained from gagging Trump, preferring to admonish him, but agreed to do so after Bragg’s office requested it last month.

Weeks later, the judge expanded his order to include attacks on his family and Bragg’s family following a series of posts Trump made about the judge’s daughter, who works at a progressive political consulting firm.

Merchan’s daughter, Loren, is an executive at digital agency Authentic, which has clients including prominent Democratic President Biden, Vice President Harris, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y).

Loren Merchan is also the target of the former president’s efforts to recuse the judge in the case, an effort he has made twice. The most recent offer came Friday, when Trump asked the judge to recuse himself because his daughter has a “direct financial interest” in the former president’s case, given the firm’s work for his opponents in the 2024 presidential election. .

The far-reaching lawsuit against Merchan comes just a week before Trump goes to trial in his New York criminal case on April 15. The former president faces 34 charges related to hush money payments made by his former fixer to porn actress Stormy. Daniels with the aim of covering up an alleged affair before the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty.

A New York appeals judge could rule preliminarily on Trump’s lawsuit against Merchan as early as Monday, before the matter goes to a full five-judge panel to consider the request.

Trump previously employed this tactic in his civil fraud trial in New York, during which another Manhattan judge imposed a similar gag order. The offer was appealed to New York’s highest court and denied.

Trump has sought to delay his criminal trial in Manhattan and the three other criminal cases against him until after the 2024 election, in which he is the presumptive Republican Party nominee, which could put them all on ice.

If the hush money trial goes forward as planned, it will mark Trump’s first criminal trial and the first criminal trial of any former U.S. president.

The Associated Press contributed.

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