Manhattan DA urges Merchan to reject Trump’s latest delay move

Among Donald Trump’s last-ditch efforts to delay his hush money trial is a complaint about pretrial publicity. But there’s no reason to think that his claim will derail the criminal case, which is set for jury selection starting April 15.

As a general matter, courts can take such publicity into account. But in response to Trump’s motion — his “eighth request to adjourn the start of this trial,” prosecutors noted — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg pointed out that it shouldn’t hold up this case. That’s because publicity in a criminal case against a former president is unlikely to die down, jury selection can eliminate biased jurors, and the defendant himself is a prime publicity generator.

So it would be “perverse to reward defendant with an adjournment based on media attention he is actively seeking,” prosecutors wrote to Judge Juan Merchan, whom Trump is separately trying to get recused in yet another desperate move.

“Defendant appears to acknowledge that there is no end in sight to public coverage of this criminal proceeding, laying bare his strategy of obtaining an open-ended delay of the trial,” they wrote.

Trump stands accused of covering up hush money paid ahead of the 2016 presidential election; he has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records. Despite his lawyers’ efforts, a jury will likely soon assess whether prosecutors can prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

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