Judge Demands That Trump’s Legal Team ‘Never Forget’ Their Duties In Blistering Rebuke

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A judge in New York dangled this week the prospect of criminal contempt proceedings amid a criminal case accusing ex-President Donald Trump of the falsification of business records.

Judge Juan Merchan reminded Trump’s legal team of this possibility in a rejection of their request that earlier controls from the judge on the motions process be lifted. Merchan previously demanded that forthcoming motions be accompanied by pre-motion letters outlining the basics of the underlying requests, which he’s characterized as critical towards the efficient management of the court’s tasks at hand. Trump’s team alleged in response that the restrictions were overreaching and violated the ex-president’s Constitutional rights to a fair trial with the implication that the judge could start unduly blocking motions.

Merchan took issue with the Trump team also seeming, as he described it, to seek methods of skirting the new requirements for the motions process via the manner in which they were making their court filings. Earlier in March, Trump’s team filed a pre-motion letter… with which the judge said they included the motion and accompanying materials as purported “exhibits.” They were, in other words, apparently trying to get the motion itself into the court’s consideration, flouting the judge’s requirements for procedures of doing so.

“This Court advises counsel that it expects and welcome zealous advocacy and creative lawyering,” the judge wrote, adding: “However, the Court also expects those advocates to demonstrate the proper respect and decorum that is owed to the courts and its judicial officers and to never forget that they are officers of the court. As such, counsel is expected to follow this Court’s orders.” Merchan subsequently cited a pointed source seemingly from within New York’s state courts that said “a court of record has power to punish for a criminal contempt, a person guilty of . . . [w]illful disobedience to its lawful mandate.”