With only four days left until jury selection, former President Donald Trump struck out yet again in an effort to delay his New York criminal trial case. In his third attempt, Trump’s legal team filed a civil action in an appeals court against Judge Juan M. Merchan, who is overseeing the hush money case.

A response from New York Appellate Justice Ellen Gesmer rejected the filing that asked to remove Merchan from the case and for a stay in the trial until Trump could appeal a decision made by a lower court regarding his presidential immunity.

“We’re here for this stay because there are restrictions in place that cannot operate in a constitutional way in a trial environment,” Trump’s lawyer, Emil Bove, said in the hearing Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. “It’s an incredibly important trial. It’s a historic, unprecedented proceeding,” he added. “This can only be done once and it must be done right.”

It is not the first time his defense has pushed for Merchan’s release from the case. Trump’s defense has argued that Merchan has a conflict of interest because a Democratic political consulting company employs his daughter.

However, the Manhattan district attorney’s office responded to that claim, arguing that it was meritless and that a relative’s career does not affect Merchan’s ability to be fair.

“There is no conflict warranting the judge’s recusal,” said Steven Wu, an attorney with District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, who brought the case against Trump, per ABC News. Merchan’s attorney, Lisa Evans, also responded, “There is absolutely no evidence to show that Judge Merchan will stand to benefit from the outcome of this trial.”

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the 34-count case against him. The 2024 presidential frontrunner posted to his social media platform Truth Social on Thursday, quoting Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett, who said, “The deck is stacked against Trump in NYC.”

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