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Trump's attempt to delay hush money trial fails

April 9, 2024

Donald Trump has argued that Democrat-heavy Manhattan would produce a jury that was prejudiced against him. The April 15 trial would be the first criminal trial for a former US president.

Former President Donald Trump arrives for a press conference at 40 Wall Street after a pre-trial hearing at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, March 25, 2024, in New York.
Trump's legal team has argued that jurors from the heavily Democrat Manhattan would be biased against himImage: Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo/picture alliance

A New York judge rejected on Monday a bid by former US President Donald Trump to delay his hush money criminal trial, due to start next week, as he tries to move the case out of Manhattan, New York.

Associate Justice Lizbeth Gonzalez issued her decision shortly after a half-hour hearing at the Appellate Division in Manhattan.

Why was Trump trying to postpone the case?

The former president and his legal team argued that Manhattan, where the trial is set to take place on April 15 and the jury is due to be assembled, is a Democrat stronghold with residents biased against him.

Emil Bove, a lawyer for Trump, said the former president's legal team surveyed residents of the New York borough and cited results suggesting that 61% of respondents thought Trump was guilty, and 70% had a negative opinion of him.

"There is real potential prejudice here to moving forward," Bove said, without specifying where the team preferred to hold the trial. "Jury selection cannot proceed in a fair manner starting next week in this county."

Trump fraud trial opens in New York

Steven Wu, a lawyer from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, said biased jurors can be weeded out during the jury selection process.

"The question in this case is not whether a random poll of New Yorkers from whatever neighborhood are able to be impartial, it's about whether a trial court is able to select a jury of 12 impartial jurors," Wu said.

Why is Trump being tried?

Trump is being tried over the accusation of covering up his former lawyer Michael Cohen's $130,000 (approximately €119,700) payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford.

The money was allegedly paid to silence Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election, regarding a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump has denied having the encounter with Daniels and has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records.

His trial is among four criminal cases in which the former president and Republican candidate for this year's race is currently embroiled.

rmt/jsi (AP, Reuters)