The Case Trump is Desperate to Delay


Staff member

For the first time in American history, a former president will face trial as a criminal defendant, charged with covering up payments to a porn star. The trial is set to start a week from today. Unless it is delayed. Again.

But why is Donald Trump so obsessed with delaying this trial? For someone who constantly professes his innocence, wouldn’t a quick trial clear his name? For Donald Trump, there is more at stake than name-clearing.

What is about to happen in a New York courtroom amounts to Trump coming face to face with a who’s who of people he hoped never to see again.

This Particular Delay Game

Trump’s default legal tactic in all five of his pending cases is to delay. He is trying to make sure none of the trials begin before Election Day. If he wins reelection, the cases that haven’t been decided are unlikely to proceed. Ever.

Today’s last-ditch efforts include a plethora of tactics from Trump’s delaying playbook: asking for the judge to recuse himself (again), asking for a change of venue, and even suing the judge over a gag order. That order was expanded after Trump went after the judge’s daughter on social media.

According to The New York Times, which broke the story of the suit, the “unorthodox” move, an appeal in the form of a suit, is not likely to work. The appeals court said it would deal with this issue at a later date. And late this afternoon, after an emergency hearing, an appeals court judge rejected Trump’s request to move the trial.

It’s Bigger Than a “Hush Money” Case

The case in question has been dubbed the “hush money” case. But Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who brought the charges, argues that it is actually an election interference case. He charges that Trump falsified records to silence a porn star just weeks before the 2016 election, thus denying the voting public knowledge of his behavior.

Those close to Trump say that of all the pending cases, this one rankles him most because of the salaciousness of the charges and the potential for embarrassment. I’d say that ship has sailed and come back to port.

The crux of the case is this: In October 2016, Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, threatened to go public with details of an affair she said she had with Trump in 2006, just after Trump’s wife Melania had given birth. With his lawyer Michael Cohen’s help, Trump bought her silence for $130,000.

You may be surprised to learn that this is all legal. What is illegal is what Cohen, the D.A.’s star witness, says happened next: Under the direction of Trump, employees allegedly falsified documents to cover up the payment.

Beyond Stormy

Paying off Daniels is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. To show motive and intent, Bragg plans to tell a much broader story that includes two additional hush money payments and the complicity of a large publishing company, American Media Inc. (AMI), which at the time owned supermarket tabloid National Enquirer.

According to Lachlan Cartwright, who was an editor at the tabloid during the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s relationship with David Pecker, AMI’s publisher, not only shielded him from exposure to bad publicity but actively influenced the election.

Cartwright says that the National Enquirer engaged in what is known in the tabloid world as “catch and kill.” The magazine paid people for exclusive rights to their stories and then did not publish the pieces, effectively killing the stories. In one case a former Playboy playmate, Karen McDougal, was paid $150,000 after she claimed to have had an affair with Trump. And Dino Sajudin, a former doorman at Trump Tower in Manhattan, allegedly received $30,000 after he said Trump fathered a “love child” with an employee at the building. Both payments were made by AMI during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In his New York Times Magazine piece, Cartwright came clean about what he did and saw during his time at the Enquirer. “Prosecutors outlined ‘The Catch and Kill Scheme to Suppress Negative Information,’ and it revealed to me that I had been managing a newsroom with improvised explosive devices planted everywhere,” Cartwright wrote. “The secret deal that was made at Trump Tower, where Pecker told Cohen he would act as the campaign’s ‘eyes and ears.’ The hush-money payoffs. The plot to publish negative stories about Trump’s rivals. A scheme to influence the 2016 election.”

It is no wonder that Trump hates this case and is employing every legal maneuver to get it thrown out, or at the very least to delay, delay, delay. Porn stars, playmates, and prosecution don’t usually equal good politics. But in this case, they could mean justice.