U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein was set to hear arguments Tuesday over former President Trump’s request to move his hush money case from New York State to federal court.
While Hellerstein agreed to hear arguments from Trump’s attorneys, as well as from prosecutors for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, he was not expected to rule right away.
Trump lawyers Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles asserted in a court filing that Bragg’s office “made the decision to wrongfully prosecute President Trump for lawful conduct that took place while the President was in office.”
They claim that the trial must be moved in part because the case is “politically motivated.”
Bragg’s office has countered that Trump was charged in state court because he broke state law.
Bragg indicted the former President on April 4 on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy over hush money payments he made to at least two women in the lead-up to the 2016 Presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The charges are related to an alleged cover-up of a payment of $130,000 by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual affair with the then-Presidential candidate.
Cohen had pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal crimes and served prison time for his role in the payoff, a campaign contribution violation during the 2016 election cycle, since it was made in service of the Trump campaign, and $130,000 exceeded the federal limit. Trump has denied ever having an affair with Daniels.
Last month,Trump appeared virtually in a Manhattan courtroom to hear an order issued on March 8 by New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan that restricts him from posting on social media about some evidence in the hush money case.