6 weeks later, NY appeals court denies Trump motion to move venue of hush money trial

A panel of New York State appellate judges denied Donald Trump’s appeal to move his criminal trial — which has been going on for six weeks — out of Manhattan to another county.

The panel denied the appeal with no further explanation in a short ruling Thursday as summations are scheduled for next Tuesday in the seventh week of Trump’s criminal trial tied to an alleged hush money scheme ahead of the 2016 election.

Trump’s lawyers had first filed the appeal on the last day of jury selection last month, and the routine procedure for a full review of the appeal took several weeks to complete, as expected. It’s one of two Trump motions denied by the appeals courts Thursday.

The denials close the loop on Trump motions that were included in a blitz of strategic appellate actions aimed at delaying the trial before it got underway last month. All of Trump’s emergency appellate requests to delay the trial were denied at the time, and since then, the court has denied Trump’s motions on the underlying issues.

Both the prosecution and Trump’s defense have rested in the Manhattan criminal trial and the jury is set to hear closing arguments next Tuesday following the Memorial Day weekend break.

A single appellate judge had denied Trump’s request to stop the trial in its tracks pending a decision on the venue appeal during an emergency hearing held on the same day the jury panel was finalized last month.

At the hearing, Trump’s attorney Cliff Robert said seating a jury in three days after so many prospective jurors were dismissed for cause over bias is “untenable.”

A lawyer arguing for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said the robust process that resulted in the culling of so many prospective jurors showed “jury selection has worked.”

Trump had unsuccessfully appealed with the same request for a stay over the change of venue motion the week before, and renewed the request at the end of jury selection, arguing there was a record of bias in the prospective jury pool.

A different panel of judges from the appeals court on Thursday denied another outstanding petition from Trump’s lawyers that challenged Judge Juan Merchan’s pretrial rulings on his recusal, motion filing procedures and presidential immunity.

Five days before the trial got underway, Trump’s lawyers had asked the appeals court to delay the trial pending an appellate ruling on these issues. That request was denied after an emergency hearing on April 10, and the order issued on Thursday now dismisses the petition.

In the order filed Thursday, the panel found that Trump’s legal arguments failed to establish that Merchan overstepped in the pretrial rulings to warrant action from the appellate court at this stage.

Trump can ask the appeals court to consider the issues in a direct appeal after a final judgment in the trial, the ruling says.

“Exercise of such discretion would not be warranted in this case, where relief would interfere with the normal trial and appellate procedures, and, without opining on the merits, the matters herein identified by petitioner may be raised in a direct appeal.”

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