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Trump berates judge for ‘rushed’ hush money trial, days before opening statements


Former US President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at Manhattan criminal court in New York, US, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. 

Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Donald Trump on Saturday took to social media to deliver another tirade against the judge and the circumstances of his New York hush money trial, which wrapped up jury selection on Friday and is expected to begin opening arguments on Monday.

“THIS SCAM ‘RUSHED’ TRIAL TAKING PLACE IN A 95% DEMOCRAT AREA IS A PLANNED AND COORDINATED WITCH HUNT,” the 2024 presumptive Republican presidential nominee wrote in one of several Truth Social posts on Saturday morning. “IT IS BEING PRESIDED OVER BY POSSIBLY THE MOST CONFLICTED JUDGE IN JUDICIAL HISTORY, WHO MUST BE REMOVED FROM THIS HOAX IMMEDIATELY.”

The rant comes a day after Trump’s attorneys requested to delay the trial to find a new location, claiming that New York City residents were too biased to find a fair jury.

A Manhattan appeals court quickly rejected Trump’s request, the latest of roughly a dozen attempts to delay the trial, which was initially scheduled to kick off March 25.

Despite Trump’s efforts to postpone, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, who presides over Trump’s case, said that opening arguments for the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president would start Monday morning.

Trump is facing 34 counts of falsifying business records in relation to an alleged cover-up of a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump’s social media rants targeting Merchan and others involved in the trial have become a regular pattern for the former president, despite a gag order imposed in March.

Trump has publicly gone after the judge’s daughter, who has worked for a progressive political consulting firm, and has repeatedly called for the judge to recuse himself.

Prosecutors on Monday asked Merchan to penalize Trump for his apparent gag order violations, specifically citing three of his social media posts, which targeted several witnesses, including Stormy Daniels and his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

The prosecutors requested a $1,000 sanction for each of the three posts and asked the judge to warn Trump that future violations could result in jail time.

Merchan said he would schedule a hearing on the prosecutors’ request for Wednesday.

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