Donald Trump

Trump’s lawyers have been busy polling potential jurors and studying Michael Cohen’s “X” postings.They found Manhattanites think Trump’s guilty and Cohen likes saying “Donald von Shitsinpants.”Based on these and other findings, they’ve made one last bid to delay the April 15 hush-money trial.

Donald Trump’s lawyers are trying again to delay his hush-money trial, this time arguing that pretrial publicity and the demonstrable anti-Trump prejudice of Manhattan residents will make it impossible to get a fair jury any time in April.

“President Trump’s Constitutional right to a fair trial is at stake,” the defense says in a March 18 delay motion that is now before the trial judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan.

This eleventh-hour effort to push back Trump’s April 15 trial date is the latest of a half-dozen such requests since August.

It’s Trump’s most complex hush-money delay effort yet — an all-out, multi-front undertaking involving a GOP-leaning public research firm, suspicions of prosecutorial impropriety, and 180 pages of supporting documents.

Clearly, Team Trump has been busy, and on a granular level.

They’ve hired pollsters who found that 61% of Manhattan potential jurors already believe Trump is guilty of something, nearly twice the rate of surrounding counties.

Defense polling by Moore Information Group

The defense has also been minutely scrutinizing the social media and “Mea Culpa” podcast of Trump fixer-turned-nemesis Michael Cohen, a key prosecution witness.

Trump’s lawyers point the judge to two times this month, on March 5 and 10, when Cohen referred to Trump on X — formerly known as Twitter — as “Donald von shitsinpants” and, alternately, “Donald Van fucking Shitsinpants.”

Excerpt from Donald Trump’s March motion seeking to delay his hush money trial.

In the last two months, according to Trump’s lawyers, Cohen has broadcast podcasts titled “Ex-FBI Agent Tells Michael Cohen Why Trump Is Screwed,” and “Former Top DOJ Prosecutor Says TRUMP IS SCREWED, Reveals ALL to Cohen.”

Michael Cohen, former attorney for former U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks with reporters as he arrives to the New York Courthouse in New York City, U.S., March 15, 2023.

“To anyone who will listen, especially if they are paying, Cohen has and will continue to spew vitriol into the public sphere regarding President Trump, including in the buildup to the potential trial,” the delay motion complains.

“And likely during it,” the motion adds.

Stormy Daniels, from her documentary, “Stormy.”

Stormy Daniels, the porn star whose “hush money” payment is central to the prosecution, also gets a defense shout-out.

Like Cohen, Daniels, given name Stephanie Clifford, has not let her upcoming star turn on the witness stand stop her from attacking Trump in public.

She’s also been promoting her bombshell-filled documentary, “Stormy,” which premiered on Peacock on March 18.

When not listening to “Mea Culpa,” the defense team has been listening to Daniels’ podcast, “Beyond the Norm.”

Trump “is indeed a monster,” they quote her saying in a podcast from January, in which she called his followers, “fucking insane.”

“She is trying to make money based on this case, which is perhaps related to the fact that she owes President Trump approximately $670,000,” the defense motion says. The bill references the total, with interest, she was ordered to pay after the dismissal of a 2018 lawsuit.

An uphill battle

Meanwhile, prosecutors, who must respond by Monday, seem ready to throw a lake’s worth of cold water on the defense effort, formally titled “PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP’S MOTION FOR A FURTHER ADJOURNMENT BASED ON PREJUDICIAL PRETRIAL PUBLICITY.”

“First, publicity is not likely to abate,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo argued the last time everyone was in court, on March 25.

“Second, the pretrial publicity has been caused and exacerbated by the defendant,” Colangelo noted. “And third, there are other tools — including effective jury selection practices — that can address any concerns.”

Judge Juan Merchan

The judge, too, has frowned on further delays.

“Defendant, either directly or through counsel, has repeatedly stated publicly that the defense goal is to delay these proceedings, if possible, past the 2024 presidential election,” Merchan complained in a decision last week.

Doomed though it may be, Trump’s bulky and energetic last-ditch delay bid offers a sometimes surprising inside look into what Trump’s lawyers have been up to these days, during the lead-in to the GOP frontrunner’s first criminal trial.

Trump allegedly falsified 34 personal and business documents in an illegal effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors say the falsified documents hid a $130,000 hush-money payment that silenced porn star Stormy Daniels eleven days before the election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty, and insists he is the victim of a politically-motivated “witch hunt.” He faces anywhere from zero to four years behind bars if convicted, though legal experts have said jail time is unlikely.

Bad polls, bad press

Manhattan is not Trump country, the defense delay motion notes.

Prejudicial media coverage has left Manhattanites “overwhelmingly” biased against Trump, his lawyers complain, citing polling from their outside public research firm, Moore Information Group.

Founded by a former executive director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Bob Moore, the company has polled for numerous GOP candidates, including for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to its website.

Pollsters surveyed a sample of 400 Manhattan residents, the delay motion says.

Some 70% of those polled had a “very negative” opinion of Trump, the defense says the polling found. Some 60% said they voted against him in the past and plan to vote against him this year.

But while roughly 60% of Manhattan residents already believed he is guilty of unspecified “criminal charges,” only 35% believe he is guilty in the hush money case.

Prosecutors may well counter that 35% is a number that they, and the judge, can easily work around in jury selection.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg

So-called “leaks” by the DA

The motion’s least-supported accusations are against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who defense lawyers accuse of using “strategic leaks to prejudice President Trump.”

The motion cites more than a dozen “prejudicial” stories about the hush money case and the perjury prosecution of former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

The stories, including one by Business Insider, cited unnamed sources in revealing the progress of Manhattan grand juries that investigated and ultimately indicted Trump.

Trump’s motion implies that those sources were, or involved, Bragg, ignoring that the stories could have been sourced through multiple other individuals, including court staff, witnesses, and attorneys for witnesses.

“President Trump cannot get a fair trial in Manhattan County right now,” the delay motion concludes, asking for unspecified adjournment “until prejudicial press coverage abates.”

An attorney for Trump and a spokesperson for Bragg did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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