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Trump’s attempt to transfer hush-money case to federal court denied

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In a significant legal blow to former President Donald Trump, his attempt to transfer the New York hush-money case to a federal court has been denied.

The case revolves around a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. Trump was indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to reimbursements to his former lawyer, Michael Cohen to silence the porn star. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan firmly rejected Trump’s arguments, saying, “The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the matter was purely a personal item of the President, a cover-up of an embarrassing event.” The judge dismissed Trump’s claim that the case should be in federal court, asserting that hush money paid to an adult film star does not relate to a President’s official acts.

“Trump has failed to show that the conduct charged by the Indictment is for or related to any act performed by or for the President under color of the official acts of a President,” the judge wrote in his order.

Despite the setback, Trump’s legal team has not immediately commented on the possibility of an appeal. The case is now set to proceed in New York State Supreme Court in March 2024.

Adding to Trump’s legal woes, a separate federal judge in New York has also rejected his request for a new trial in another case involving writer E. Jean Carroll. Trump was found liable for sexually abusing and defaming Carroll, with the jury awarding her $5 million.

The hush-money case centres around mischaracterised payments made to Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, which were meant to silence Daniels about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump. Trump had claimed the payments were for legal services, but the records revealed otherwise.

Trump’s campaign has accused the New York judicial system of being politically motivated, attempting to prevent his potential re-election. Despite these claims, the Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, is pleased with the federal court’s decision, looking forward to proceeding with the case in the state court.

Trump continues to maintain his innocence, pleading not guilty in both the hush-money case and a Florida federal criminal case related to retaining classified records after leaving office. If the hush-money case goes to trial in March 2024, Trump will be the first former president to face criminal charges.

The developments in both cases present significant legal hurdles for Trump as he seeks the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. The denial of the bid to move the hush-money case to federal court keeps Trump on track to face trial in Manhattan Supreme Court.

However, amidst the mounting legal challenges, Trump’s spokesperson for his campaign has accused the Democrats of weaponising the judicial system to damage their political opposition, claiming that the case belongs in a federal court. Trump’s legal team vows to continue pursuing all available legal avenues to move the case to federal court.

As the legal battles unfold, the outcome of these cases will have far-reaching implications for the former president and his political future. Trump’s insistence on his innocence and claims of political motivation in the charges against him add to the complexity of these high-profile trials, making them crucial to watch in the coming months.

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