Missouri AG sues New York over Trump conviction

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Missouri filed a lawsuit against New York Wednesday seeking to lift the gag order imposed against former President Trump during his hush money trial and delay sentencing for his conviction in that case until after the November election. 

Trump was convicted of 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York in May. Missouri claims that the prosecution is politically motivated and is interfering with Missouri’s rights to hear from a presidential candidate, since Trump is currently under a limited gag order related to the case and is set to be sentenced in September.

Missouri’s lawsuit petitions the Supreme Court to intervene, arguing it has jurisdiction because the suit points to an interstate conflict. The court, which completed its term this week, can decide to take up this case on an emergency basis and make a ruling, or dismiss it.

“I will not sit idly by while Soros-backed prosecutors hold Missouri voters hostage in this presidential election. I am filing suit to ensure every Missourian can exercise their right to hear from and vote for their preferred presidential candidate,” Bailey wrote in a statement to The Hill. 

The New York Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on the suit. The Hill has reached out to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for comment.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) filed the lawsuit soon after the Supreme Court ruled to expand presidential immunity, stemming from Trump’s case in D.C. related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Since that ruling, Trump has filed a motion seeking to have his hush money conviction overturned, arguing it relied on protected communications. Judge Juan Merchan on Tuesday agreed to delay his sentencing from mid-July to September.

In the lawsuit, Bailey alleges that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) brought charges against Trump to “boost Joe Biden’s campaign and keep Trump out of the White House,” dubbing the move “lawfare.” 

Bailey adds that Bragg’s decision to “campaign for his current position by promising to use that experience to prosecute” Trump makes the prosecution obviously partisan. 

Bailey also alleges that Judge Merchan violated ethics rules by overseeing a case against Trump even after donating to the Biden campaign. Merchan in 2020 gave $35 to the Democratic group ActBlue that included $15 earmarked for Biden’s campaign.

“Nothing is more destructive to the health of a democracy than distrust in the outcome of an election. And yet New York has brought transparently weak charges for the transparent purpose of trying to impose political damage against Trump and trying to restrain his ability to campaign in advance of an election forecasted by the polls to be very close,” the lawsuit reads.  

Bailey spoke on Fox News last month, where he first floated the idea of suing New York for the conviction, saying that it was “unconstitutional lawfare.” 

During that interview, Bailey explained that he believed the lawsuit was necessary to bring the case straight to the Supreme Court, since a state suing another state immediately goes to the high court, whereas Trump would need to go through the state appeals process first.

“Trump’s conviction is very likely to be overturned on appeal. But by then, the constraints New York has sought to impose on Trump to limit his ability to campaign will already have had their full effect,” Bailey wrote in a press release.

“Missouri has a strong, judicially enforceable interest in its citizens and electors being able to hear Trump’s campaigning free from any gag order or other interference imposed by the State of New York.”

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