National News

Trump pushes back against restriction on filing motions in New York hush money case

todayMarch 20, 2024

Background

Former President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a Buckeye Values PAC Rally in Vandalia, Ohio, March 16, 2024. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Lawyers for former President Donald Trump are pushing back against a recent restriction on filings in his New York hush money case and asked the court to unseal some of the filings in the case, according to two motions released on Tuesday.

Trump’s lawyers also asked Judge Juan Merchan to vacate a March 8 order where he required the parties to obtain leave of court by sending the court one-page letters before filing new motions in the case ahead of the trial.

“Nowhere in the CPL has the New York legislature authorized a trial court to prevent a criminal defendant from filing a motion, or to confine relevant points and authorities in support of a criminal defendant’s motion to a single page,” defense lawyer Todd Blanche said in the filing.

Merchan’s order requiring Trump’s lawyers to get permission before filing motions was issued as Trump’s lawyers filed a motion for discovery sanctions based on newly released documents in the case. To allow for defense attorneys to review over 100,000 pages of records produced by federal prosecutors recently, Merchan granted a 30-day adjournment of proceedings and is set to hear arguments on the motion on Monday.

“Mr. Blanche, it appears you misunderstood this Court’s earlier Order,” Merchan told Blanche over email on March 8 when he filed the motion for discovery sanctions, according to an exhibit attached to the filing.

“To be crystal clear, so there is no confusion, your motion is not accepted at this time and you may not file a motion unless and until this Court expressly authorizes you to do so,” Merchan said.

Trump’s lawyers also requested to unseal all “pleadings, orders, and written communications that have involved the Court and the parties” and permit public access to the filings going forward. Due to the sensitivity of the case, Trump’s lawyers have previously been required to go through a redaction process before publicly filing documents.

“These rights of public access to criminal proceedings serve critical interests in advancing the fair administration of justice, promoting public confidence in the judiciary, permitting public scrutiny of matters of great public interest, and defending the fundamental rights of the accused,” the filing from his attorneys said.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election.

His criminal trial in New York has been delayed until at least mid-April.

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