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Trump continues fight to move New York criminal case to federal court

<i>Andrew Kelly/Pool/Reuters</i><br/>Former President Donald Trump
Andrew Kelly/Pool/Reuters
Former President Donald Trump

By Lauren del Valle, CNN

New York (CNN) — Attorneys for Donald Trump are continuing the legal fight to move Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s criminal case against the former president from New York state court to federal court.

Trump’s lawyers first filed a motion to move the case to federal court in May, arguing that the charges are related to his duties as president. Bragg’s office has argued that Trump’s alleged hush money scheme was largely perpetrated before Trump became president and wants to keep the case at the New York state Supreme Court.

A hearing in Manhattan federal court is scheduled for June 27 before district Judge Alvin Hellerstein, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton.

Thursday, Trump’s attorneys asked Hellerstein to deny Bragg’s motion to remand the case back to the state Supreme Court.

“A criminal case is removable to federal court where a federal officer is charged for conduct for or relating to any act under color of federal office arising under color of his office and identifies a colorable federal defense,” Thursday’s filing states.

Trump was charged in April with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records over the alleged repayments to then-lawyer Michael Cohen for hush money payments made during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed they had extramarital affairs with Trump, which he denies. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

While denying the alleged hush money scheme, Trump’s team says the allegations would violate federal campaign finance laws rather than state laws.

“Such an alleged scheme, albeit nonexistent, could only violate federal, not state, campaign finance laws, as made clear by both the federal jurisprudence and the New York State election board,” the attorneys wrote in their latest filing. “Indeed, federal preemption is a classic example of a federal defense justifying removal.”

The litigation over moving the case to federal court has not stopped the case from moving forward where it currently proceeds before Judge Juan Merchan in New York state Supreme Court. Merchan set a trial date in New York County for March 25, 2024, potentially setting the trial to occur the middle of the Republican presidential primary season early next year.

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