N.Y. Judge Rebukes Trump’s Defense Team & Keeps Criminal Trial On Track

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In court this Thursday amid a criminal case against Donald Trump from Manhattan prosecutors alleging the falsification of business records in connection with hush money given to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 elections, the judge roundly rebuffed the ex-president’s legal team.

CNN recounted a rebuke from the judge for a Trump lawyer towards the end of their courtroom time on Thursday. Trump lawyer Todd Blanche complained about the case moving forward on the scheduling established by Judge Juan Merchan, who has jury selection starting March 25 — which could make the New York case the first criminal trial for Trump among four cases. As with other complaints from the ex-president’s corner, Blanche again pointed to Trump’s ongoing campaign for president — which Trump formally announced, mind you, after the underlying investigations preceding all four of his currently active criminal cases were publicly known.

“The fact that President Trump is going to now spend the next two months working on this trial instead of out in the campaign trail running for president is something that should not happen in this country,” Blanche complained, per CNN. Trial preparations will not completely force Trump from doing rallies.

Asked for clarification, Blanche told the judge his already delivered remarks represented his “legal argument.” “That’s not a legal argument,” the judge told Trump’s team. Trump was personally in attendance on Thursday.

The criminal case from Special Counsel Jack Smith at the federal Justice Department accusing Trump of election interference schemes after the 2020 elections was previously scheduled for trial in March. However, appeals from the ex-president alleging he holds wide-ranging legal protections by mere virtue of serving as president spurred a pause to most of the case. As arguments before other courts in D.C. have continued, the March scheduling for that federal trial has effectively slipped away.

Meanwhile, there was also a hearing Thursday amid the wide-reaching criminal case implicating Trump in an alleged election interference scheme in Georgia. A defense team has been trying to use a past relationship between the district attorney and a prosecutor against the case.