Judge Scolds Trump Lawyer After Botched Hush-Money Delay Bid

  • An April 15 date has now been set for Trump’s first criminal trial, his Manhattan hush-money case.
  • At a pretrial hearing Monday, Trump watched as his lawyer asked for a long delay.
  • “It’s odd that we’re even here,” the judge told the lawyer, calling his delay bid unsupported.

Donald Trump’s lawyer asked a Manhattan judge on Monday to postpone his hush-money trial — but instead of a delay, the lawyer got a verbal drubbing.

“It’s odd we’re even here,” the judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, said at one point, expressing frustration over the delay bid.

The GOP frontrunner was in court and wore a steely scowl as he watched his lawyer, Todd Blanche, try but fail to convince the judge for two hours that prosecutors had nefariously suppressed trial evidence — and that the judge was somehow complicit.

“It’s really disconcerting,” the judge scolded Blanche at one point.

“It’s incredibly serious, unbelievably serious,” he continued. “You are literally accusing the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the people involved in this case of prosecutorial misconduct and trying to make me complicit in it.”

Prosecutors did nothing wrong, the judge found.

“The People went so far above and beyond what they were required to do that it’s odd we’re even here,” Merchan told Blanche before calling a brief break in arguments.

Monday’s hearing focused on a disagreement over more than 100,000 pages of potential trial evidence that were only turned over during the first two weeks of March by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The documents included interview notes, subpoenaed records, and grand jury minutes from the US Attorney’s Office prosecution of Trump’s then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Trump appeared grim-faced as he was escorted into the courtroom by a quintet of Secret Service agents and then took his seat at the defense table.

At times he turned to his lawyers — Susan Necheles to his left and Emil Bove to his right — and appeared to confer angrily.

“I did have an opportunity to review all of the records,” Merchan said early on, when the tone of the hearing was still light.

“Like you, I wish I had a little more time,” Merchan added, turning to Blanche with a smile.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo told the judge that he, too, had read through the 100,000 pages.

He said they include “fewer than 300 records” that could arguably be considered trial evidence.

And these were “largely inculpatory,” meaning damaging to Trump’s case.

That meant those at the defense table were the only people before the judge who had yet to read through the document dump.

“The District Attorney of New York County is not at fault for the late production of documents from the US Attorney’s Office,” the judge said at the end of the hearing. “They complied, and continue to comply, with their discovery obligations.”

The 100,000 pages “were not under the prosecution’s possession or control,” the judge said.

The judge said he further found “that the Manhattan District attorney made diligent efforts to obtain discoverable evidence,” and that all parties will have had “a reasonable amount of time,” pretrial, to review and respond to the materials.

“See you on the 15th,” the judge said, concluding the hearing.

This is a breaking story; please check back for developments.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *