Trump Fumes as Judge Denies Second Mistrial Request

( – On May 9, Justice Juan Merchan, the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s Manhattan trial, heard arguments from the defense and prosecutors on a defense motion for a mistrial. One of the former president’s lawyers claimed Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford’s weighty testimony impermissibly prejudiced the jury. Merchan denied the motion from the bench, prompting Trump to fume while speaking to journalists after the hearing’s conclusion.

The former president told reporters he didn’t think they needed an expert to explain the day’s proceedings. “Everybody saw what happened,” he said. Trump also pointed out that he couldn’t publicly defend himself due to Merchan’s imposition of a gag order. He ended that portion of his press briefing by telling the journalists that he had to get “back on the campaign trail” and reiterated his previous claims that he shouldn’t be in court, adding, “We are so innocent.”

Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, motioned the court for a mistrial shortly after the lunch break but before the jury entered the courtroom. After the jury left for the day, he argued that specific details of an alleged tryst between his client and Clifford “has nothing to do with this case.”

At one point, Blanche appeared to accuse the prosecution of orchestrating the irrelevant and, at times, salacious testimony. He told the court, “This wasn’t a witness that was out of control.” The former adult film star answered the questions presented to her by the prosecution during direct examination.

Merchan pushed back on Blanche’s arguments by pointing out that he sustained several defense objections raised during Clifford’s testimony. Blanche pointed out that the jury heard the answers. “That’s why this is so prejudicial,” he added.

One of the prosecutors, Joshua Steinglass, interjected, telling the court that the defense opened the door to the prosecution’s line of questioning by claiming that Clifford’s story was false during their opening statement. He accused them of “trying to exclude… details” that corroborate her accusation.

Merchan appeared to side with prosecutors, telling Blanche that the defense’s denial put the jury in the position of having to decide who they believe, Trump or Clifford. He also criticized defense attorney Susan Necheles for not objecting to the prosecution’s lines of inquiry and ruled against the defense.

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