Alvin Bragg pushes back on attempt to have Trump's case heard in federal court

 June 3, 2023

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is continuing his efforts to prosecute former President Donald Trump on charges stemming from an alleged payoff to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

While Trump's legal team is scrambling to get his case moved out of state court, one observer suggested that the odds of doing so aren't good.

Trump's lawyers say case implicates federal questions

The Hill reported early last month that the former president's lawyers were seeking to have their client's charges heard in the Southern District of New York rather than remain in Manhattan.

They argued that Trump's case raises important federal questions, thus making federal court the proper venue for it to be heard.

"This case is unprecedented in our nation’s history," the former president's attorneys were quoted as saying in a nine-page brief.

"Never before has a local elected prosecutor criminally prosecuted a defendant either for conduct that occurred entirely while the defendant was the sitting President of the United States or for conduct that related to federal campaign contribution laws," they stressed.

A federal court could offer Trump a more sympathetic jury

Newsday senior criminal justice reporter Nicole Fuller noted in an article published this past Wednesday that while moving the case to federal court is regarded as "unlikely" by many legal observers, it could be advantageous to Trump when it comes time for jury selection.

"The Southern District of New York, where Trump’s case would be prosecuted if it were moved, includes Manhattan, but also the more politically conservative suburbs," Fuller pointed out.

"In state court, jurors would only include residents from Manhattan, which is overwhelmingly Democratic," she added.

However, Bragg argued last week in a brief of his own that Trump's "alleged criminal conduct had no connection to his official duties and responsibilities as president.

Rather, he contended that Trump's actions "arose from his unofficial actions relating to his private businesses and preelection conduct."

The hearing is scheduled for June 27

Manhattan prosecutor Matthew Colangelo agreed, arguing that the "alleged criminal conduct here is similarly divorced from any official duty or responsibility."

Colangelo asserted that "the preelection scheme and $130,000 payment to an adult film actress predated defendant’s inauguration, and his post-inauguration actions all derived from this pre-inauguration conduct, rather than any presidential duty, because defendant sought to conceal facts and to reimburse payments that preceded his time in office."

Fuller observed that a hearing on removing the case has been scheduled for June 27 by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

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