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Judge Merchan Denies Trump’s Appeal for Mistrial and Gag Order Release

An Open Attack: Trump’s Rights Sidestepped in Latest Court Decision

During a recent hush money legal procedure, the representatives of the ex-president, Donald Trump, put forth two appeals. Judge Juan Merchan, however, refused to grant both. One of the appeals was for declaring a mistrial, which had been previously turned down. The second appeal was to diminish the gag order so that Trump could make public comments concerning adult movie performer and key witness Stormy Daniels subsequent to her giving evidence. Judge Merchan equally refused this plea.

Throughout the trial, Daniels defended herself against allegations of inconsistency in her narrative brought forth by Trump’s legal team. Her claims of an alleged intimate encounter with Trump play a central role within the case. Trump’s legal counsel, Todd Blanche, made an argument for a mistrial suggesting that portions of her evidence, particularly the details referring to the supposed intimate encounter, bore no relation to the charges in question. Blanche argued that her testimony was causing harm.

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However, Judge Merchan dismissed the defense’s assertion that Daniels’ courtroom testimony was at odds with her prior accounts. Axios reported that Merchan brought up specific areas of concern with the defense’s arguments, including their denial of the alleged intimate encounter Daniels spoke about instead of rebutting the accusations of forging business records.

‘The argument as presented in my view allows the prosecution to do what is necessary to validate her narrative and to provide supporting evidence. Hence, your plea for a mistrial is denied,’ was Judge Merchan’s retort. Subsequently, Trump’s legal representatives asked the court to trim down the gag order enabling Trump to express his views publicly about the case after Daniels had testified.

‘The ex-president should have an opportunity to explain himself to the citizens of America,’ said Blanche, adding, ‘Daniels is not a witness any longer.’ Judge Merchan refused the motion stating, ‘The primary reason the gag order exists is precisely due to the nature of these attacks — the animosity.’

Following the judgement, Trump expressed his disagreement, stating that the judge’s actions and ruling were disgraceful. This took place outside of the court on a Thursday evening.

Bragg had previously made 34 charges against Trump in April of the preceding year for fraudulent business record entry. The allegations also involved alleged quiet money disbursements during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Bragg accused Trump of deliberately and fraudulently altering New York business records to camouflage criminal activities that would have potentially hampered his electoral fortunes in the 2016 presidential race. In his 2020 indictment, Bragg claimed that Trump and his associates devised a ‘catch and kill’ strategy to locate, acquire, and suppress damaging information about his personal life to elevate his electoral prospects.

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Furthermore, Bragg accused TRUMP of going to extreme lengths to keep this conduct under wraps, causing numerous false entries in business records to hide criminal activities, including attempts to violate state and federal election laws.

New York state law sees the act of falsifying business records in the first degree as an offense committed when there is an intention to deceive others. Further, the intent must include the desire to commit another crime.

Back in 2019, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York looked into the issue and did not lay charges against Trump related to the alleged payments made to Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal. In 2021, the Federal Election Commission also dropped its investigation into the matter.

According to Bragg, Trump masterminded a ‘catch and kill’ strategy, executing several payments that he then managed to disguise through months of false business entries. The timeline given was from August 2015 to December 2017. Additionally, it was claimed that a onetime doorman at Trump Tower received $30,000 from American Media Inc., owner of the National Enquirer, for a story he allegedly had about an illegitimate child of Trump.

Moreover, Bragg alleges that Trump had ‘explicitly instructed an attorney,’ likely a reference to his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, to ‘reimburse’ American Media Inc. in cash. Cohen supposedly wired $130,000 to a representative of an adult film actress ’12 days before the presidential general election,’ possibly referring to Daniels. Cohen pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws associated with the payments and was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. While Cohen admitted to arranging the payments, he insists Trump was the one giving orders.


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