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Judge Hands Win To Stormy Daniels By Rejecting Trump Subpoena

Source: Flickr/Trump White House Archived / NBC

Trump’s ongoing legal issues have been in the headlines every week since he was first indicted in early 2023. He is the first former president to be charged with any sort of crime, let alone 88 felony counts, and many Americans have been watching these cases with interest to see if Trump will be held accountable for the crimes of which he’s accused.

Charges in Four Jurisdictions

Trump has been charged in four different cases across four different jurisdictions in the United States. Three of the cases are state cases, and one is a federal case that is based out of Washington D.C.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

The federal case surrounds Trump’s actions that were taken – or not taken – on January 6, the day that Trump supporters stormed the capitol in an attempt to subvert Joe Biden’s election victory and stop the certification of the election. Trump is charged with, among other things, attempting to defraud the United States for his actions that were taken that day, a significant accusation against a man who once held the highest office in the country.

The Classified Documents Case

The Florida case surrounds classified documents that were found in Trump’s possession in his Florida home at Mar-A-Lago. Trump claims that the documents that were found were his to take, claiming that the Presidential Records Act allowed him to take anything that he wanted from the White House without consequences.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/J. Cook for US National Park Service

In that case, Trump is also accused of disseminating classified secrets to individuals who were not qualified or authorized to hear them. The case surrounds the significant threat that was posed to national security by the former president, and could have important implications for America’s relationship with our enemies.

RICO Charges in Georgia

In Georgia, Trump has been charged, again, for his actions surrounding the 2020 election. However, instead of merely being charged as individuals, Trump and 18 other defendants have been charged together under a RICO indictment, alleging that the actions to subvert the Georgia election results crossed the threshold of a racketeering enterprise.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/The White House from Washington, DC

The implications of a RICO investigation are wide-ranging, and District Attorney Fani Willis has made clear her intentions to win the case. Trump and his fellow defendants have been working tirelessly to get the charges thrown out in this case, though they’ve yet been unsuccessful.

Hush Money in New York

The case in New York, though, is the one that is currently getting the most amount of press. Trump has been charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, covering up payments that were made to adult film star, Stormy Daniels, ahead of his 2016 presidential run and victory.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/The Circus

The charges against the former president, brought by District Attorney Alvin Bragg, allege that Trump, through his then-attorney Michael Cohen, helped to arrange payments to Daniels to silence her after she threatened to come forward days ahead of Election Day about an alleged affair that she and Trump had years earlier.

Multiple Attempts to Delay

Trump has used every delay tactic in his book and requested for the case to be thrown out under every possible legal reason that he and his team could think of. All of their attempts have been unsuccessful, and the trial has finally gotten underway as of last week, with jury selection wrapping up and opening arguments finally beginning. 

Source: Pexels/KATRIN BOLOVTSOVA

This trial has been in the wings for months. Part of the process of a criminal trial like this is something called discovery, where lawyers on both sides request documents and evidence from each other so that they can prepare their arguments against it. This process is called disclosure, and it is required of all legal teams when it comes to criminal cases.

A Major Win for Stormy Daniels

Not all discovery is ultimately allowed in court, or even allowed to go through, though. This is what happened recently, in a decision that has been praised as a major win for Stormy Daniels and her legal team. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Lukeisback

The judge in the Stormy Daniels Case, Judge Juan Merchan, recently issued an order to kill a subpoena that the Trump team had issued to Daniels. The subpoena was to obtain documents that the Trump team said were crucial to their case against Daniels, but the judge disagreed, calling  the subpoena “overbroad.”

Seeking Details about “Stormy”

Through the subpoena, Trump’s attorneys sought details related to the eponymous documentary that Daniels released this year, which centered on her experiences with Trump. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/CmdrDan

The claims in the documentary are at the heart of Bragg’s case against the former president. The subpoena sought all documents from Daniels that were related to the documentary and its premiere, editorial and marketing decisions involved in production and release, any compensation people received in relation to it, and any documents tying the documentary to prosecutors in Bragg’s office, among other material.

Served Last Month

The subpoena was served to Daniels at a Brooklyn nightclub on March 18 of this year, but she ignored it. An affidavit from the individual who served the subpoena said that Daniels “did not take [the papers] in hand and [he] left them at her feet in her presence.”

Source: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki

The statement concluded, “She did not acknowledge me and kept walking inside the venue, and she had no expression on her face.”

A Request to Kill the Subpoena

After being served the subpoena, Daniels’ attorneys and prosecutors filed a request that the subpoena be killed. Daniels is expected to appear on the witness stand in the case to recount how she came to receive payments and sign a nondisclosure agreement in 2016, and the team has argued that she’s already been more than cooperative with the Trump team.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Juan Merchan seems to agree with Daniels and her team. The decision handed down this week as the case is starting to get going killed the subpoena, meaning that Daniels and her team are not obligated to comply with the demands. 

Merchan’s Decision on the Request

The decision read, “The Court of Appeals has held that a subpoena is properly quashed when the party issuing the subpoena fails ‘to demonstrate any theory of relevancy and materiality, but instead, merely desire[s] the opportunity for an unrestrained foray into confidential records in the hope that the unearthing of some unspecified information [will] enable [them] to impeach witnesses.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

In layman’s terms, this means that Merchan believed that the subpoena from the Trump team was superfluous, and wasn’t seeking any specific information. The law doesn’t allow for broad subpoena’s that seek any and all information that might help a defendant’s case, which is what Merchan is accusing the Trump team of trying to do. 

A Violation of Daniel’s, and NBC’s Privacy

This is a major win for Daniels ahead of the criminal trial where she is scheduled as a witness. While much of the information that was sought by the Trump team about the documentary is publicly available, complying with the subpoena would have still been considered a huge violation of her privacy.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/J Chang

And while there is an argument to be made that her privacy is already violated due to her involvement in this case at all, there are ways to mitigate the invasion on the part of the Trump team. Just because she’s chosen to be a part of this case against the former president doesn’t mean that she deserves to have her entire life on display for the duration of the trial. 

Hypothetical Information Fishing

Merchan’s reasons for killing the subpoena, additionally, surrounded the fact that the “facts” that Trump sought to confirm with the information were purely hypothetical. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

“Because Defendant’s claims are purely speculative and unsupported, his subpoena and the demands therein are the very definition of a fishing expedition,” the judge stated. He added, “even if this Court were to find that defendant’s request not speculative…NBCUniversal’s motion nonetheless would be granted because Defendant seeks unfettered access to the notes and materials of a media organization in violation of state civil rights law.”

The Case Ramping Up

Neither the Trump team or the Daniels team has released a statement regarding the decision, which is understandable. With the case ramping up, neither legal team has the time for political posturing, especially when so much is on the line. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

This case is an important bellwether for the former President. His other cases are ongoing, and will be coming up in the coming weeks and years. If he is found guilty in this case, it’s entirely possible – and some might even say likely – that he will be found guilty in the other cases as well. Trump has a lot to be concerned about, and needs to keep his eyes on his own paper as his legal woes continue. 

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James Cross

Written by James Cross

James Cross, an enigmatic writer from the historic city of Boston. James' writing delves into mysteries, true crime, and the unexplained, crafting compelling narratives that keep readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. His viral articles, blog posts, and documentary-style videos explore real-life enigmas and unsolved cases, inviting audiences to join the quest for answers. James' ability to turn real mysteries into shareable content has made him a sensation in the world of storytelling.

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