Trump Loses Bid For Sanctions On NY Prosecutors. Again.

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

And the hits just keep on coming!

Fresh off of going 0 for 2 with the First Department, Donald Trump took another drubbing from Justice Juan Merchan, who is presiding over his false business records case in New York.

The order denying Trump’s bid for sanctions against the District Attorney’s Office wasn’t exactly unexpected. In fact, Justice Merchan announced it from the bench on March 25, more than eight weeks ago. But it does serve as a reminder of just how disingenuous Trump’s defense has been since before the first juror was seated.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin on March 25, but on March 8, Trump moved for sanctions alleging “improper and unethical” discovery violations.

The kerfuffle involved the Justice Department’s late production of evidence pertaining to Michael Cohen, characterized by Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche as “73,193 pages, including reports relating to statements by Cohen that are exculpatory and favorable to the defense.”

“The People have engaged in widespread misconduct as part of a desperate effort to improve their position at the potential trial on the false and unsupported charges in the Indictment,” Blanche huffed, insisting that “the People should have collected all of these documents long ago. Instead, they collected some materials but left others with the federal authorities, in the hope that President Trump would never get them.”

The DA responded that it had obtained an ex parte sharing order from a federal court on January 25, 2023 and that it had duly turned over all production to the defense in timely fashion. The prosecutors characterized the production as consisting of “fewer than an estimated 270 documents, most of which are inculpatory and corroborative of existing evidence.” It also invited Trump’s legal team to Google “separate sovereigns” in light of its apparent confusion between federal and state law enforcement officials. (More or less.)

Justice Merchan postponed the trial, but at a hearing on March 25 he expressed outraged incredulity that Trump’s lawyers would fling around an accusation of prosecutorial misconduct with so little to back it up.

“That you don’t have a case right now is really disconcerting,” the judge said from the bench. “You’re literally accusing the District Attorney’s office and the people in it of prosecutorial misconduct and trying to make me complicit in it.”

“This Court further held that the People did not violate their discovery obligations pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law Section 245.20 as, under § 245.20(1), USAO-SDNY is not under the People’s direction or control, and under § 245.20(2), the People made diligent, good faith efforts to ascertain the existence of materials and information discoverable under § 245.20(1) and to cause such material or information to be made available for discovery where it exists,” Justice Merchan wrote, reiterating his denial from the bench of the sanctions motion because DUH, DANY AND SDNY ARE NOT THE SAME PERSON.

Meanwhile in Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon has been sitting on six motions to dismiss since February and has actually invited amici to present oral argument at a June 21 hearing on Trump’s motion to dismiss based on the theory that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment is illegal.

Wonder why Trump attacks Justice Merchan for being an immigrant from Colombia, but not Judge Cannon, who was born in Cali.

It’s a mystery!

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she produces the Law and Chaos substack and podcast.

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