Trump Lawyers Say Key Witness Refused Subpoena as Day 3 of ‘Hush-Money’ Trial Starts

President Trump made no comments to the media.

Day three of former President Donald Trump’s so-called “hush-money” trial started on Thursday as the former president’s lawyers said they attempted to serve a key witness in the case with a subpoena.

As the former president entered the courtroom on Thursday, he made no comments to the media, according to reporters in the court. On Monday and Tuesday, he spoke at length about the trial and case, while the trial isn’t in session on Wednesdays.

A process server working for President Trump’s lawyers wrote in court papers this week that he approached adult actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, with a subpoena last month to obtain information relating to a documentary that was released about her life and allegations that she involved in a relationship with the former president, which he denies.

Court filings made public Wednesday said that a process server left the subpoena with her “at her feet.” She refused to be served with the subpoena, the papers said.

“I stated she was served as I identified her and explained to her what the documents were,” process server Dominic DellaPorte wrote in the court papers. “She did not acknowledge me and kept walking inside the venue, and she had no expression on her face.”

The encounter has touched off a monthlong battle between the former president’s lawyers and Ms. Clifford’s attorney that continued this week as the presumptive Republican nominee’s criminal trial began in Manhattan.

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President Trump’s lawyers are asking Judge Juan Merchan to force her to comply with the subpoena. In their filing, they included a photo they said Mr. DellaPorte took of the woman, who is expected to be a witness in the trial, as she strode away.

But Ms. Clifford’s’ lawyer Clark Brewster claimed in court papers that they never received the paperwork. He described the requests as an “unwarranted fishing expedition” with no relevance to President Trump’s criminal trial.

“The process—instituted on the eve of trial—appears calculated to cause harassment and/or intimidation of a lay witness,” Mr. Brewster wrote in an April 9. He has not yet responded to Wednesday’s court filing.

In the case, prosecutors in Manhattan have accused the former president of falsifying business records to allegedly bury stories that were unfavorable to him, which he has denied. He is accused of making a $130,000 payment to former lawyer Michael Cohen who then paid Ms. Clifford to not speak about an alleged affair.

President Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denies the allegations brought by Ms. Clifford. He has said the trial is a politicized attempt to denigrate his 2024 campaign for president as he is currently the Republican presumptive nominee.

His attorneys are demanding an array of documents related to the promotion and editing of her documentary, “Stormy,” and they are requesting that she reveal how much, if anything, she was compensated for the film.

They have contended that the film’s premiere last month on NBC’s Peacock streaming service, or a week before the trial was originally scheduled to start, stoked negative publicity about President Trump, muddying his ability to get a fair trial. They’ve also said that she is attempting to promote herself and “her brand” to make income “based on her status as a witness” in the case, according to the court papers.

The trial is expected to last about eight weeks, with two of them being used to select a jury. So far, seven jurors have been selected in the case, while dozens have already been dismissed.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the judge told the former president that he has to show up in court every day it is in session and refused to allow him to go to a Supreme Court hearing on another matter. President Trump’s lawyers also asked Judge Merchan to allow him to visit his son Barron’s high school graduation, but the judge did not issue a ruling and said he would revisit it at a later date.

In public and on social media, the former president has said that instead of being forced to make trial appearances in a Manhattan court, he should be campaigning in key battleground states ahead of the November election.

He’s also been critical of a gag order that was imposed weeks ago by Judge Merchan, which blocks President Trump from speaking about key individuals in the case, including Ms. Clifford and Mr. Cohen.

Prosecutors this week asked Judge Merchan to penalize the former president for three separate posts he made on social media that were critical of Mr. Cohen and Ms. Clifford. His lawyers have said the order violates his First Amendment rights and noted that the pair have been critical of President Trump in the media on numerous occasions and that he’s only responding to their comments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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