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Judge denies Trump’s request to postpone trial and consider venue change in hush money case


A New York appeals court has rejected Donald Trump’s request to change the venue of his upcoming secret trial.

The former president’s lawyers on Monday urged the court to postpone the trial so it can consider changing venues, arguing that Trump cannot get a fair jury in New York.

But Associate Judge Lizbeth González quickly denied the motion to stop the trial after hearing arguments Monday, and there are no further arguments on the motion to change venue.

Trump’s lawyers had filed the motion with the state appeals court earlier in the day, a week before his trial was set to begin.

Trump’s lawyers also said they were filing a motion opposing Judge Juan Merchan’s order of silence, barring Trump from publicly discussing witnesses in the upcoming trial, as well as staff and family of the court and the prosecutor’s office. This was not discussed on Monday.

At Monday’s appeals court hearing, Trump lawyer Emil Bove revisited an investigation and media study referenced in the former president’s previous motion submitted to Merchan to postpone the hearing on the basis of pre-trial publicity. The judge did not rule on this request.

“In terms of pretrial publicity in this county, this case is unique,” ​​Bove said.

Jury selection cannot take place next week fairly in New York County, which is Manhattan, based on their research, Trump’s lawyer claimed, reiterating his request that the trial be delayed until until their request for a change of venue is resolved.

The head of appeals for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Steven Wu, argued that it was too late for Trump’s lawyers to make the motion so close to the start of the trial. He said the proper procedure would be for Trump to renew a change of venue request if it turns out he cannot seat a fair New York County jury in the jury selection process.

The question, Wu said, was not what Trump’s poll says, but whether jury selection can accommodate 12 impartial jurors and alternates.

“The defendant assumed throughout his argument that the publicity here was inherently harmful. The facts do not support this,” Wu said. Wu said the articles are mostly “unbiased coverage” of the case, summarizing the allegations. He said a case like this would attract international attention.

Nothing in Trump’s documents suggests that New York County is particularly saturated with media coverage or that New Yorkers in the county are particularly incapable of being fair, Wu argued.

“The mere fact that jurors are aware of this case is not an indication of bias,” Wu said. “It is the defendant who comes into this dispute with dirty hands, because much of the publicity belongs to him.”

The jury questionnaire for the secret trial was also released on Monday. Potential jurors will be asked a wide range of questions: where in the city they live, where they get their news, whether they have ever attended a rally for the former president or had any affiliations with groups like the Proud Boys or with the QAnon movement.

Potential jurors will be asked about their feelings about Trump and asked if they or anyone they know has ever attended a Trump rally or worked or volunteered for a Trump presidential campaign, the Trump presidential administration or any other political entity affiliated with Trump. They will also be asked if they have ever participated in anti-Trump groups or events. But they will not be explicitly asked which political party they belong to, who they voted for or who they have made political contributions to.

In addition to their news consumption, jurors will be asked whether they have ever read or listened to books or podcasts by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and central witness in the case against him, or the former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who also wrote a book about the case.

Jury selection is expected to begin during the secret trial on April 15.

This headline and story have been updated with additional developments.

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