Trump moves to have 'meandering' New York hush money case dismissed

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump as the trial of himself, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James continues, in New York City, October 3, 2023.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump wants a New York judge to dismiss the criminal case against him charging that he falsified business records relating to hush money payments, arguing prosecutors waited too long to bring their case.

“After a five year meandering, halting and roving investigation that entailed inexplicable and unconstitutional delay, the District Attorney’s office filed a discombobulated package of politically motivated charges marred by legal defects,” Trump’s attorneys contended in a 57-page court filing Thursday.

The filing argues that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg “charged President Trump more than six years after public reporting regarding the facts at issue, and almost five years after commencing a grand jury investigation and accessing substantially all of the relevant evidence. The filing from Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles argues that the delay prejudiced Trump, interfered in his presidential campaign and violated his rights to due process. The DA’s office said they will respond in court papers. Trump was indicted by the DA earlier this year on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. “

That was hush-money paid to two women who claimed that Trump had an affair with them. He has denied the affairs and any wrongdoing.

Michael Cohen, then Trump’s lawyer, paid one of the women, adult film star Stormy Daniels, $130,000 in the closing days of the campaign. He said that he paid the woman at Trump’s request, and Trump acknowledged paying Cohen via payments labeled legal expenses. The DA’s Office contends this was misleading and illegal. In their filing, Trump’s lawyers contended it was accurate.

“President Trump cannot be said to have falsified business records of the Trump Organization by paying his personal attorney using his personal bank accounts,” the filing said.

They argued the judge presiding over the case, Juan Merchan, “should dismiss the indictment or, in the alternative, conduct a hearing to determine the reason for the delay” in bringing the charges.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case, which is currently scheduled for a March 2024 trial. The motion was filed as Trump and the company were on trial for a $250 million fraud case brought by New York’s attorney general. Trump’s lawyers also filed a court document Wednesday night in the federal criminal case accusing Trump of mishandling secrets of national security. They argued that the trial should be delayed until after the 2020 presidential election. The attorneys argued that the prosecutors were holding out for a “unprecedented trial date” in May next year. He claims that all of the cases against are political and part a Democratic witch hunt against him.