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Judge refuses to postpone Trump’s hush money trial in New York due to complaints about pre-trial publicity

NEW YORK (AP) — Into court Donald Trump‘s hush-money criminal case on Friday denied the former president’s request to delay his trial due to publicity about the case.

It is the latest in a series of denials of stays that Trump has received from various courts this week as he fights to prevent the start of the trial on Monday with jury selection.

Trump’s lawyers had argued, among other things, that the jury was inundated with what the defense saw as “exceptionally prejudicial” reporting on the case. According to the defense, this was a reason to postpone the case indefinitely.

Judge Juan M. Merchan said this idea was “not tenable.”

Trump “seems to be taking the position that his situation and this case are unique and that the pre-trial publicity will never subside. However, this view does not correspond to reality,” the judge wrote.

Referring to Trump’s two federal defamation lawsuits and a civil corporate fraud lawsuit in Manhattan last year, Merchan wrote that the ex-president himself was “personally responsible for generating much, if not most, of the surrounding publicity with his public statements.” outside those courtrooms and on social media.

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“The situation in which the suspect now finds himself is not new to him and is at least partly his own doing,” the judge added. He said questioning potential jurors would alleviate any concerns about their ability to be fair and impartial.

Prosecutors had objected to Trump’s request. Like the judge, they said the publicity is unlikely to subside and that Trump’s own comments generated much of it. Prosecutors also noted that there are more than 1 million people in Manhattan, arguing that jury questioning could yield at least a dozen people who could be impartial.

Trump’s lawyers had made other, sometimes similar arguments for delays to an appeals court this week. All were dismissed by individual appellate judges, although the cases will be sent to a panel of appellate judges for further hearing.

Trump’s hush money case is the first of his four criminal charges to go to trial and would be the first-ever criminal trial of a former president.

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Trump is accused of falsifying his company’s records to conceal the real reason for payments to his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who helped the candidate bury negative claims about him during his 2016 campaign. Cohen’s activities include paying porn actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to suppress her story about an extramarital sexual encounter with Trump years earlier, which Trump denies.

Trump pleaded not guilty last year to 34 felony counts of falsifying company records. His lawyers argue that the payments to Cohen were legitimate legal fees.

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