Prosecutors say Trump’s bid to delay hush money trial over ‘media attention’ is hypocritical

NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s effort to delay his upcoming trial in the Stormy Daniels hush money case by arguing he’s been hurt by publicity is hypocritical and should be rejected, Manhattan prosecutors wrote in new court filings Wednesday.

Asking Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan to deny the former president’s eighth motion to delay the trial slated for April 15 based on “media attention he is actively seeking,” prosecutors said Trump was trying to have his cake and eat it, too.

“[He] has repeatedly invited public attention to this criminal trial through campaign rallies, online social media posts, television interviews by himself and his counsel, and frequent press conferences—including in the very hallway of the courthouse just steps away from the courtroom before and after court appearances,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo wrote.

“Defendant simply cannot have it both ways: complaining about the prejudicial effect of pretrial publicity, while seeking to pollute the jury pool himself by making baseless and inflammatory accusations about this trial, specific witnesses, individual prosecutors, and the Court itself.”

The presumptive Republican nominee has pleaded not guilty to 34 felonies in the case alleging he covered up reimbursement to Michael Cohen to disguise that it was for a hush money scheme that included paying off Daniels to hide a series of sex scandals from voters.

In their March 18 motion, Trump’s lawyers posited that oversaturated media coverage had destroyed his chances of a fair trial, that it would be impossible to find an unbiased jury, and that anticipated witnesses for the DA, like Daniels and Cohen, had driven adverse media reports, among other arguments.

“President Trump has been unfairly and improperly ‘demonized’ in this coverage,” Trump lawyer Todd Blanche wrote. “President Trump cannot get a fair trial in Manhattan County right now.”

Colangelo countered that a survey by Trump’s attorneys of 400 residents showing 88% of respondents had read about hush money payments surrounding the 2016 presidential election and 35% believed him guilty provided no background about how they obtained contact information or ensured samples were random, but did not prove Manhattanites couldn’t be impartial.

Trump has doggedly fought to delay the case and failed in February to convince Merchan to push it back based on publicity.

On Tuesday, he renewed another argument that failed in August to force Merchan to recuse himself based on his daughter’s consulting work on campaigns for Democrats. That came after Merchan expanded a gag order to prohibit Trump from attacking his and District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s relatives when Trump targeted his daughter, Loren Merchan, online, telling his followers she was a “Rabid Trump Hater” profiting from her dad’s rulings.

Colangelo said that the insistence by Trump’s lawyers to inject relatives into public filings was “reckless and beyond the pale,” given unprecedented security threats facing Bragg, his family, and others as a result of Trump’s “dangerous rhetoric and persistent attacks.” The DA and Merchan have been subjected to death threats since Trump was first indicted.

Blanche and a Bragg spokeswoman declined comment.