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Trump In NY Court By Video Objects to Restrictions Amid Campaign, Trial March 2024

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

FOLEY SQUARE, May 23 – Donald Trump filed a notice of removal to Federal court of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's indictment of him in state court, on May 4, 2023.

  On May 23, the state case had another proceeding before Judge Juan Merchan, this time with Trump appearing by video from Mar-a-Lago in Florida with his lawyer Todd Blanche beside him. Inner City Press was in the NYC courtroom and live tweeted, thread here:

OK - now at NYS v. Trump proceeding, Trump is already on video screen here in Judge Merchan's courtroom

Trump on screen is tapping his fingertips together; two American flags behind him. NYC Courts officers patrolling the aisles of the courtroom. Judge Merchan due in three minutes. Two. One... All rise! [Trump on screen in Florida does not stand - it was not requested, protocol unclear]

"For President Trump, Susan Necheles. My colleague Todd Blanche is with President Trump in Florida." Judge Merchan:  We are here for a protective order

Judge Merchan: Mr. Trump, do you have a copy of the protective order? Trump: Yes, I do. Judge Merchan: Mr. Blanche, have you reviewed the order with your client? Blanche: Yes. Judge Merchan: Anything not understood? Blanche: Our objections remain

Blanche: He believes his First Amendment rights are being violated. He is running for President and is the leading contender. That is the only... the protective order is in place. Judge Merchan: I do no mean to impede Mr. Trump's ability to campaign

 Judge Merchan: I don't think there's any need to be line by line through the protective order, based on your representation. Blanche: I agree. 

Judge Merchan: Did you explain to your client this order is a mandate of the court? Blanche: He understands Judge Merchan: Violation of the order could result in a finding of contempt. Anything further? No. No.

Judge Merchan: I want to turn to the issue whether Mr. Tacopina is conflicted out of the case. I am reviewing it. Now, the motion and trial schedule...

Judge Merchan: This case is set down for trial on March 25, 2024 - we'll commence jury selection then. Parties including Mr. Trump are directed to not enter any commitments from then until the trial is completed. There can be no substitution of counsel

Judge Merchant: Motions off-calendar on August 8, with decisions before the trial. I expect no delays. Any questions? Necheles: When we agreed to August 8, we thought we would have discovery by now. So we'd like an adjournment until the end of September

 Judge Merchan: People? Prosecutor: We are serving the defense with notice and a hard drive of the first discovery materials... The original motion schedule was set for discovery to be given by June 8, the statutory deadline. We anticipate meeting that

Necheles: I don't see the harm to the People. We haven't even started looking at discovery. After we finalized the protective order, we asked for the discovery - but the People declined. Now we are 7 weeks out. Judge Merchan: It would eat into the cushion.

 Judge Merchan: I will extend it until August 29. People, will you be requesting three extra weeks? Prosecutor: We'll take six weeks, to October 10. Judge Merchan: I don't have a 2024 calendar...

 Judge Merchan: Next,  January 4 at 9:30 for a decision. Anything else? Nothing.  Judge Merchan: I'll see you on the adjourn day, October 10. Adjourned.

 The removal notice was assigned to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams, but was quickly reassigned to Judge Alvin Hellerstein, as Inner City Press reported.

  Now on May 8, Bragg's office has filed an "unopposed motion" for a conference, emphasizing that "Defendant's Notice of Removal does not operate to stay the court action (up to the point of entering a judgement of conviction," citing 28 USC Section 1455(b)(3). 

   Bragg urged a speedy conference to "minimize disruption to New York's "traditional state authority" to punish 'local criminal activity,'" citing Bond v. US, 572 US 844, 858-9 (2014).

On May 9, Judge Hellerstein set a schedule: "ORDER REGULATING PROCEEDINGS granting [6] Motion for Conference re: [6] CONSENT MOTION for Conference re: [1] Notice of Removal, . I have studied the notice of removal and attendant papers as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1455 (b)(4). In order that an evidentiary hearing may promptly be held, 28 U.S.C. § 1455 (b)(5), the following schedule shall be observed: Any motion for remand, and supporting papers, shall be filed by May 30, 2023; Opposition papers shall be filed by June 15, 2023; Reply papers shall be filed by June 23, 2023. An evidentiary hearing, to the extent that there are disputed issues of fact, and argument as to the law, shall be held June 27, 2023, 2:30 pm, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007, Courtroom 26A. In the meantime, proceedings may continue in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County. See 28 U.S.C. § 1455 (b)(3). SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on 5/9/23)."

 Inner City Press will be reporting on the case, as it has on the Carroll v. Trump trial in SDNY.

  This case is People of the State of New York v. Trump, 23-cv-3773 (Hellerstein). 

More on Bragg's other recent SDNY case including analysis on Substack here


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