Former U.S. President and 2024 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump gestures about weightlifting during the Republican Volunteer Recruitment Event at Farbent, Calvary Chapel, Las Vegas, July 8, 2023.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump Wednesday lost a bid to move a New York lawsuit related to hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels to federal court.
Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein decision By denying the effort, Trump is scheduled to appear on trial in the Manhattan Supreme Court on March 25, 2024. Trump was indicted in March on 34 counts of falsifying business records.
Hellerstein dismissed Trump’s claim that the case belonged to federal court because he was indicted for acts he committed while he was president of the United States, and that the accused acts related to acts committed “under the colors of the president.”
“President Trump has failed to demonstrate that the conduct accused in the indictment was for or related to conduct committed by or on behalf of the President purporting to be an official act of the President,” Hellerstein said in the order.
“The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the matter was purely personal to the president and a cover-up for embarrassing events,” the judge wrote.
Records at the heart of the case incorrectly portrayed the reasons for payments made by Trump and his firm, the Trump Organization, to then-personal attorney Michael Cohen during his tenure at the White House.
President Trump explained that the money was for legal services, but it was actually to pay back the $130,000 Cohen paid Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen paid Daniels to silence Melania Trump’s allegations that she had sex with Trump a decade ago, months after she gave birth to her son, Barron Trump. The former president has denied having sex with Daniels.
A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting Trump, said he was “extremely satisfied with the federal court’s decision and looks forward to a hearing in the New York State Supreme Court.”
Trump’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, did not immediately comment on the ruling.
But a Trump campaign spokesman said in a statement that “corrupt Democrat Alvin Bragg is abusing his power to help his boss Crooked Joe Biden and his lazy and losing presidential campaign.”
“Democrats are weaponizing our great judicial system and using it to damage political opponents. This is a shameful abuse of public trust,” the spokesperson said. “They are doing everything in their power to prevent President Trump from being re-elected, because deep down they know he will win. This case belongs to federal court and we will continue to pursue all legal avenues to move it to federal court.
Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case.
He also pleaded not guilty to a Florida federal criminal case in which he was charged with dozens of charges related to keeping classified records after leaving office.
Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican nomination, will be the first president, former president or not, to be indicted in a criminal case.