The judge in Donald Trump’s hush money trial ripped into his lawyers for baselessly accusing New York prosecutors of misconduct and for trying to bring in evidence that wasn’t relevant in their bid to delay the case by months.

Judge Juan Merchan scolded the former president’s attorney Todd Blanche for ‘not answering’ his questions and for arguing that documents from the Mueller report and 2016 election were linked to the Stormy Daniels trial.

In the fiery hearing, Merchan also said he was fed up with Blanche’s ‘pattern’ of behavior and poured cold water on his argument that the trial be held up again. 

Trump, 77, has denied a 34-count indictment related to him falsifying business recorded in connection with a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Daniels over their alleged affair.

The case was meant to start on Monday, but has already been pushed back by at least a month after more than 200,000 pages of evidence were turned over by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The Republican presidential candidate sat at the defense table with his hands clasped on a day when two of his legal nightmares collided.

While he was in court he received a huge victory in the New York fraud case when an appeals court slashed his fraud fine from $454million to $175 million, and gave him 10 days to pay. 

Donald Trump has arrived at a crunch hearing in his hush money case with his lawyers demanding that it be delayed for months

Inside the court, Trump watched as Blanche said the jury should hear Michael Cohen’s FBI interviews and be shown evidence from Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Most of the documents released in the dump were related to the 2018 prosecution of Cohen, Trump’s disgraced former fixer and a key witness in the case. 

A frustrated Merchan slapped back at suggestions the evidence should be considered and said: ‘That’s not relevant, what does that have to do with this case? 

‘I’m telling you, if you try to introduce something in the Mueller investigation, it’s not coming in.

Merchan then got very heated with Blanche when he asked him to cite a single case to support the crux of their argument.

Trump’s legal team claims the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office engaged in misconduct by not getting to or handing over the evidence sooner.

‘If you don’t have a case (to cite) right now is really disconcerting because the allegation the defense makes about the people’s misconduct is incredibly serious. Unbelievably serious.

‘You’re literally accusing the Manhattan District Attorney’s office of engaging in prosecutorial misconduct and trying to make me complicit in it and you don’t have a single cite to support that position?’

Throughout the hearing, Merchan appeared skeptical at claims from the former president’s lawyers that the case should be delayed for months because of thousands of pages of new evidence. 

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office claims that such delays are a ‘red herring’ and part of a ‘strategic delay.’

Trump walked into the courtroom scowling and pursing his lips after telling reporters outside: ‘This is a witch hunt. This is a hoax.’ 

He was wearing a dark blue suit and a bright red tie.

There were 10 court security officers and seven Secret Service agents present in the courtroom, which was packed with more than 60 journalists. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was in court and sat in the second row of the public gallery holding a brown folder containing two files. 

Merchan said he had ‘examined hundreds of pages and carefully compared the claims’ and concluded that there are ‘really are not significant questions of fact to be resolved.’ 

‘The facts are what they are and the exhibits support that,’ Judge Merchan said.

Judge Merchan then pressed Trump lawyer Todd Blanche on why it took so long to mention the documents at the center of the hearing. 

Blanche said he ‘very much disagreed’ and claimed there were ‘thousands and thousands’ of pages that were relevant to the case that needed examining.

They included one witness talking about the 2016 election, Blanche said.

Judge Merchan cut in and asked if that was related to the Mueller investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia to win the 2016 election.

The judge said: ‘That’s not relevant. What has this to do with this case?’

When Blanche tried to protest, Judge Merchan said: ‘I decide what’s relevant. If you try to introduce something from the Mueller investigation, it’s not coming in.’ 

Judge Merchan tried to get Blanche to give a precise number of documents he was claiming were relevant.

Blanche said: ‘You’re asking the defense to say what’s relevant. We got the materials a week ago.’ 

Judge Merchan replied: ‘I think it’s fair for me to ask you to give me a little bit more. When you say thousands of documents and when I probe a bit, right off the bat it seems like you knocked out a few thousand. Give me a little more I can hang my hat on

The judge again asked Blanche for a ‘ballpark’ figure for relevant documents. Blanche responded by saying: ‘Tens of thousands of documents’.

‘You’re not answering my questions’, Judge Merchan said and moved on.  

Before his appearance, Trump ranted on Truth Social that the fraud fine should be ‘zero’ and claimed the hush money case should be dismissed because it is being ‘coordinated by the White House.’ 

He also said he shouldn’t have to sell his ‘babies’ in his real estate empire because he did ‘nothing wrong.’ 

The Donald walked out of Trump Tower just after 9am on Monday morning without his usual fist pump to waiting photographers and onlookers. 

The payment was made just days before the 2016 election and prosecutors claim it amounted to an illegal campaign contribution.

The former president has denied a 34-count indictment related to him falsifying business recorded in connection with a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels

The trial was supposed to begin on March 25th but was delayed until at least mid-April after the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan released more than 200,000 pages of evidence from its inquiry into Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer.

But the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which is bringing the hush money case, says that just 270 documents – or 31,000 pages – of the material is relevant and that the case should go ahead next month. 

Trump and his lawyers have also torn into Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought the case, for trying to bury information that would damage Cohen’s credibility. 

Should the trial go ahead it will be the first of four criminal cases that Trump faces.

The 77-year-old sat at the defense table between his attorneys and with his hands clasped on a day where two of his biggest legal nightmares have collided

There were 10 court security officers and seven Secret Service agents present in the courtroom, which was packed with more than 60 journalists

The former president sits behind the defense table in the Manhattan courtroom waiting for the proceedings to begin 

‘This is a witch hunt. This is a hoax’. Trump made a very short statement before walking into the courtroom in Manhattan 

He is accused of election interference at a court in Washington, D.C. over his role in the January 6th insurrection but the case is on hold pending a Supreme Court ruling on whether he has immunity.

Trump faces a trial in Florida for mishandling classified documents but it is mired in delays and a tentative date for the trial this summer appears unlikely.

He is also accused of election interference in Georgia, however there is no date yet set and prosecutors have been ensnared in allegations of improper behavior.

Trump has said that he does not have the money to pay despite claiming to be worth billions of dollars.

Trump leaves his New York property before heading to the Manhattan court for the hearing 

The former president didn’t gesture to fans or photographers, as he usually does, when he walked onto the street  

Monday will put pieces of Donald Trump’s real estate empire on the line. Jury selection is also set to begin in the Stormy Daniels ‘hush’ money case

One sign read ‘the emperor has no dough,’ after Trump’s lawyers said he was unable to secure bond for the $454m judgment

Trump was set to be greeted by protesters outside Manhattan criminal court

The New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, has already moved to start seizing Seven Springs, Trump’s golf course and private estate just north of Manhattan.

Trump could receive a massive boost when his social media company Truth Social floats on the stock market, which could net him $3.5 billion.

But the windfall would be on paper only for at least six months due to laws that forbid him from selling too soon.

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