Judge Just Dealt Alvin Bragg Major Blow In Trump Trial

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump took an unexpected turn when he was not allowed to introduce one of his most important pieces of character evidence.

After opening remarks, District Judge Juan Merchan declared that he would not allow Bragg to play the notorious Hollywood Access tape for the jury, on which Trump is heard having “locker room talk,” as he put it, with a host while speaking off the record. Bragg planned to use the video to demonstrate Trump’s misogynistic attitudes toward women while he faces charges of corporate fraud related to a hush money payment made to an adult film star.

Joshua Steinglass, a prosecutor on Bragg’s team, claimed that the video included “extremely salacious evidence that’s very, very, very prejudicial,” leading ABC News to report on the issue. Steinglass would be permitted to read the words recorded on tape, according to Judge Merchan.

“It’s not a little point,” Merchan said. “My ruling that we were not to play the tape was, and remains, that the tape itself is so prejudicial — to see Mr. Trump depicted, the words coming out of his mouth, the facial expressions … the tape itself should not come in.”

President Trump is heard saying a colleague on the recording, “When you’re a star, you can do anything,” including “Grab them by the p—-.”

A video from E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case, in which the former president was hit with a $84 million verdict, is another crucial piece of evidence that was rejected. Carroll alleged that decades ago, Trump had sexually abused her.

President Trump attempted to use his court appearance on Monday to further his campaign, releasing a video on Truth Social and X in which he explained the prosecution’s goal to silence him because they are a part of a Democratic machine trying to silence his supporters on Election Day. This was done as he got ready for the start of his first criminal trial.

“They will try to take away my freedom because I will never let them take away your freedoms,” Trump tells a thunderous crowd. “They will try to silence me because I will never let them silence you. They want you silent, and I’m the only one who can save this nation because you know they’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you.”

“When I walk into that courtroom, I know I will have the love of 200 million Americans behind me, and I will be FIGHTING for the FREEDOM of 325 MILLION AMERICANS!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Judge Merchan and his Democratic strategist daughter have been effective foils for President Trump and his surrogates in raising unprecedented amounts of money to help his criminal defenses, even though they are operating under a gag order. $50 million was raised at a Mar-a-Lago event last week, which is twice as much as the previous week’s star-studded Biden gala that featured former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

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