Judge Denies Trump Lawyer’s Motion for Mistrial in ‘Hush-Money’ Case

His attorneys argued that witness testimony from Stormy Daniels was ‘extraordinarily prejudicial.’

A lawyer for former President Donald Trump said his team is moving for a mistrial in the “hush-money” case based on testimony delivered by witness Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, on Tuesday, arguing that her comments were unjustly prejudicial. However, the judge in the case denied their attempts.

In the Manhattan court, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche said that Ms. Clifford’s claims about her encounter and alleged affair with President Trump in 2006 is different than the claims she made in previous years. Her testimony, he added, has nothing to do with the case—where President Trump is accused of falsifying business records—and that her comments are designed to prejudice the jury.

“What’s the jury to do with that?” he said, referring to her comments. “It’s still extraordinarily prejudicial to insert safety … concerns into a trial about business records.”

“There’s no way to un-ring the bell in our view,” Mr. Blanche said. “She testified today about consent, about danger, and that’s not the story she was peddling. Sorry, that’s not the story she was selling” when she signed non-disclosure agreements in 2016, he added.

He added that his team “regrettably” believes “that there should be a mistrial” declared in the case. A mistrial either means that a jury cannot reach a verdict or that there is a major procedural error or misconduct that results in an unfair trial, in which a judge calls a new trial and new jury.

“Judge, I don’t think anybody can listen to what that witness said and think that has anything to do with the charged offense, and it’s the type of testimony that is so prejudicial that you run the risk of the jury not being able to focus on the evidence that does matter,” Mr. Blanche argued.

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But prosecutors disagreed, with assistant district attorney Susan Hoffinger saying that Ms. Clifford’s testimony is “not new” and “not a new account.”

“This goes directly to her credibility, which they attacked, and I’m sure will continue to attack,” Ms. Hoffinger said.

On President Trump’s social media account, he posted that prosecutors have “gone too far” and declared that a “mistrial” should be ordered. That post was issued right before court resumed on Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Denies Mistrial Motion

In response, Judge Juan Merchan denied the mistrial bid but noted that Ms. Clifford could not be controlled and that some questions shouldn’t have been asked.

“Whether these are new stories or not new stories the remedy is on cross examination,” the judge said, adding, “I don’t believe we’re at a point where a mistrial is warranted.”

Speaking to Mr. Blanche, Judge Merchan said that defense lawyers should have moved to object to prosecutors’ questions and some of Ms. Clifford’s statements about the alleged 2006 encounter. President Trump has categorically denied her claims, saying no affair ever took place.

The judge then said he would give instructions to members of the jury about some of Ms. Clifford’s allegations, including her testimony that she was threatened in 2011.

Prosecutors say that President Trump falsified records when he paid Ms. Clifford through a lawyer, Michael Cohen, to not speak about the alleged affair. His lawyers argue that those payments were legitimate legal expenses and nothing illegal occurred.

Meanwhile, under the judge’s gag order, President Trump cannot speak about Ms. Clifford, Mr. Cohen, or other potential witnesses involved with the case. Earlier this week, the judge fined the 45th president a 10th time and threatened to jail him for subsequent gag order violations.

“As much as I don’t want to impose a jail sanction, I want you to understand that I will have to if necessary and appropriate,” Judge Merchan told the former president on Monday.

Stormy Daniels, left, stands with her then-lawyer Michael Avenatti during a news conference outside federal court in New York, on April 16, 2018. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo, File)
Stormy Daniels, left, stands with her then-lawyer Michael Avenatti during a news conference outside federal court in New York, on April 16, 2018. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo, File)

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, told reporters that the Rikers Island facility is “prepared” if the President Trump is ordered to be jailed.

The city’s Department of Corrections commissioner “would be prepared to manage and deal with the situation. As you see what’s happening with Harvey Weinstein, we have to just you know, in this business, particularly around law enforcement, we have to adjust whatever comes our way,” he said.

A Secret Service spokesperson reiterated to The Epoch Times on Tuesday that if the former president is jailed, the agency has to provide protection under federal law. However, the spokesperson did not give any specific details on what that could look like.

The Associated Press and Michael Washburn contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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