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Trump fails to delay N.Y. criminal trial for a third time this week

NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s attorneys failed to persuade an appeals court judge on Wednesday to delay the former president’s New York criminal trial, scheduled to begin next week, by saying the presiding judge was not qualified to oversee the proceedings.

The judge, Ellen Gesmer, denied Trump’s request shortly after it was filed.

It was the Trump attorneys’ third attempt this week to delay his trial on charges of falsifying business documents to help cover up an affair before the 2016 election. Trump, the first former president to face criminal prosecution, has been indicted on various charges in three other jurisdictions and has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Trump lawyer Emil Bove argued in an emergency proceeding before Gesmer that New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan should have recused himself.

Prosecutors and an attorney from the courts for Merchan said a delay in the trial was unwarranted.

Merchan last year declined to step down from the criminal case after Trump’s attorneys filed a complaint about the judge’s daughter’s profession as a political consultant and the judge’s small contributions to Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign and a progressive group.

Merchan’s daughter owns a political consulting and marketing company that has worked on campaign materials for the Biden-Harris campaign, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) and other prominent Democrats.

Trump’s attorneys recently filed a motion arguing that Merchan must recuse himself in the interest of fairness. It was not immediately clear whether Merchan had ruled, but a decision was not public.

Judges in New York state are supposed to bow out of situations in which there may be an appearance of favoritism.

Jury selection in Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial is scheduled to start Monday, marking the first such trial of a former U.S. president. He is the presumptive Republican nominee in the November election.

On Tuesday, a New York appeals court judge denied Trump’s request to delay the trial, and a gag order imposed on him by Merchan remained in effect.

A different appeals court judge on Monday rejected Trump’s attempt to delay the trial while he pursued an appeal to determine whether a change of venue is necessary, citing Manhattan’s liberal leanings.

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with a $130,000 payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, made shortly before the 2016 election. Prosecutors have said the payment was intended to keep her quiet about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump years earlier.

Prosecutors said Trump’s reimbursements to then-attorney Michael Cohen, who made the payment to Daniels, were illegally documented as legal fees despite being carried out to support Trump’s campaign. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post
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