Hush money judge rejects Trump subpoena request but weighs motion to recuse

by | Apr 6, 2024

The judge overseeing Trump's hush money case rejected his request to subpoena NBC Universal regarding a documentary it produced about Stormy Daniels. In a separate filing, the judge agreed to consider Trump's attempt to replace him on the case.

A trial lasting several weeks is set to begin on April 15 concerning Trump's 34-count indictment for allegedly falsifying business records in New York to conceal a hush money payment allegedly made to Daniels, aimed at covering up an alleged affair from the final days of his 2016 campaign. Trump accused NBC Universal of colluding with Daniels and sought a subpoena for records related to its production of “Stormy,” which premiered last month on the network's streaming service, Peacock.

In consecutive actions on the courtroom docket, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan dismissed Trump’s subpoena request but subsequently approved his request to present arguments regarding whether his daughter’s involvement with a progressive consulting firm necessitates his recusal from the case.

Merchan stated that Trump did not demonstrate a “clear and specific” discovery of relevant material required to subpoena the documentary records, as outlined in his four-page decision on the subpoena.

Trump's legal team, led by Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles, indicated that they were pursuing information that could uncover “collusion between NBCU and Daniels regarding the release date of the documentary,” as well as any details that could impact his impending trial, scheduled to commence with jury selection on April 15.

Merchan determined that the subpoena was “excessively broad” and declined it, partly citing NBC Universal’s status as a media entity. Additionally, Merchan stated that Trump did not satisfy the criteria outlined in New York's Civil Rights Law to warrant such a subpoena.

The newly released documentary chronicles the experiences of Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and the impact on her life after she publicly asserted in 2018 that she had engaged in an affair with Trump in 2006. Trump has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges and refutes Daniels's claims of an affair.

Daniels is anticipated to testify in Trump’s hush money trial, along with Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and fixer, who a judge recently determined had likely committed perjury during a separate trial.

Following Trump's efforts to highlight the judge's daughter, the gag order was broadened to prohibit Trump from making derogatory remarks and allegations concerning Merchan's family members and the relatives of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the official spearheading the case.

The motion asserts that Adam Schiff is among “at least six Authentic clients” who have sought donations using electronic communications that allude to the hush money case, including messages sent around the time of the Indictment, the arraignment, and subsequent to the Court’s rejection of President Trump’s recusal motion.

Merchan’s firm reportedly received over $29 million in disbursements from Democratic-affiliated entities between 2021 and 2022, with $9.6 million coming from Schiff for Congress, as per data obtained by Trump's attorneys from OpenSecrets.

Bragg's office stated on Tuesday that there were “no altered circumstances” warranting a reassessment of whether Merchan should be recused.

Source: The Washington Examiner



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