A judge should deny former President Donald Trump’s bid to move the state “hush money” case against him to federal court, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office argued Tuesday.
Lawyers for Trump, 76, argued earlier this month that the criminal case “involves important federal questions” considering Trump allegedly committed some of the conduct while he was president and since he’s alleged to have violated both state and federal election law.
But Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office — which is prosecuting the case against Trump — claims he doesn’t have the right to invoke a statute reserved for federal government officials seeking to transfer a case to federal court.
This is because Trump wasn’t acting as president when the alleged crimes occurred, prosecutors claim.
Trump’s alleged conduct “had no connection to his official duties and responsibilities as President,” according to court papers filed Tuesday.
Trump’s actions “instead arose from his unofficial actions relating to his private businesses and pre-election conduct,” prosecutors wrote in the papers filed in Manhattan federal court.
The former commander-in-chief pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in the case claiming he arranged for “catch-and-kill” payments to former porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the lead-up to the 2016 election to keep them quiet about alleged affairs.
Prosecutors say Trump falsified business records to cover up a reimbursement to his one-time lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen for the “hush money” payment to Daniels.
The charges against Trump “concern his unofficial actions to falsify the records of his personal business, while reimbursing his ‘personal lawyer’ for pre-election expenditure, to conceal criminal conduct that largely occurred before his inauguration,” the court papers argue.
The state case is ongoing while the issue of whether it should be transferred plays out in federal court.
State court Judge Juan Merchan set a trial date for March 25, 2024 — right in the middle of primary season for the 2024 presidential election.
Trump lawyer Todd Blanche declined to comment Tuesday.