Judge Stops Attempt By Trump’s Defense Team To Go After Stormy Daniels Amid Trial

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Judge Juan Merchan, who is handling the first criminal trial of former President Donald Trump, which is taking place in New York City, has ruled in favor of motions from Stormy Daniels and the prosecutors behind Trump’s case, who both argued for quashing — aka, striking down — attempts from the Trump defense team to subpoena a range of materials from Daniels.

Merchan criticized some of the Trump team’s requests as “overbroad” and not actually limited to the core concerns of Trump’s case. In general, a defense team has the right in criminal proceedings like Trump’s case to issue subpoenas, but supervision of the process rests with the court — meaning, in this case, Merchan.

One of the attempted demands of Daniels in the Trump team’s rejected subpoena ploys appeared to suggest at least the supposed possibility of her secretly coordinating with E. Jean Carroll, a writer who brought infamous civil claims against the former president alleging defamation and sexual misconduct. It’s unclear that there’s any evidence in the real-world for the Trump team’s suggestion.

Specifically, the Trump team wanted to subpoena “all documents relating to communications with the following: Michael Cohen or his representatives; Karen McDougal; Elizabeth Jean Carroll; Jessica Leeds; or Natasha Stoynoff” in certain periods.

Another failed request by the Trump team was for materials related to a recently released documentary featuring Daniels.

Hush money provided to Daniels before the 2016 presidential election targeting a story of her having an affair with Trump formed part of the backdrop for this criminal case, which hinges specifically on allegations that Trump falsified business records in connection with repayments for the ex-Trump “fixer” who provided Daniels with the funds. Prosecutors also connect the arrangement to alleged ambitions of impacting the 2016 presidential race in a manner favorable to Trump. The idea is that keeping that story under wraps stood to benefit Trump’s campaign for president.