‘Fishing’: Judge denies Trump team bid to seize NBC Stormy Daniels material | Donald Trump News

Judge Juan Merchan criticised the defence team’s attempt to compel NBC to turn over documents related to Stormy Daniels.

A New York Judge has blocked an attempt by Donald Trump‘s lawyers to force the NBC news network to turn over materials related to a recent documentary about adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

The ruling on Thursday by Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan comes shortly before a trial related to both Trump and Daniels is set to start on April 15.

In New York, Trump – the former United States president – faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records for alleged hush money payments he made to Daniels and others.

Marchan called the Trump team’s efforts to subpoena NBC “the very definition of a fishing expedition”. The request, he said, did not meet the heavy legal burden needed to require a news organisation to provide unrestricted access to its reporting.

The ruling is the latest setback for Trump, who is set to be officially named the Republican Party’s candidate for the 2024 presidential race. He faces four separate criminal cases, with the New York trial the first to begin.

The case centres on allegations that Trump falsified his company’s internal records to hide the true nature of the hush money payments, made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The payments were made through his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who allegedly helped bury negative stories about Trump, a presidential hopeful at the time.

Among other payments, Cohen offered Daniels $130,000 to suppress her claims of an extramarital sexual encounter with Trump years earlier. Daniels is set to be a key prosecution witness in the trial.

On Wednesday, Merchan also rejected a request from the defence team to delay the trial until the US Supreme Court rules on claims of presidential immunity claims Trump has made in a separate case. Merchan said the request was untimely.

Trump’s lawyers had previously failed to block Cohen and Daniels from testifying in the trial.

The New York indictment was the first of the four criminal cases against Trump to be announced.

After the history-making indictment in March of last year, Trump pleaded not guilty to the 34 felony counts. His lawyers had argued the payments were legitimate legal expenses. The former president has also denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Trump’s lawyers had subpoenaed NBC Universal on March 11. They sought all documents related to the production, editing, marketing and release of the documentary, as well as any compensation Daniels received and any agreements between her and the network.

The lawyers argued the subpoena would yield evidence that NBC Universal and Daniels colluded to release the documentary close to the start of the trial to bias the public and increase profits.

NBC had denied those claims.

In the four-page decision, Judge Merchan wrote that the defence subpoena was “far too broad” and that its collusion claims were “purely speculative and unsupported” by evidence.

Merchan added the subpoena sought to “rifle through the privileged documents of a news organization”.

In addition to the New York state hush money case, Trump also faces two federal criminal cases. One, in Florida, is for allegedly hoarding classified documents after leaving office. The other, in Washington, DC, accuses him of conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential elections.

He faces a fourth criminal case in Georgia for efforts to overturn election results in that state too.

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