Alvin Bragg Faces Early Setback in Trump Trial as Judge Rules Against Key Evidence

The trial against former President Donald Trump encountered an early hurdle on Monday as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was dealt a setback in his bid to present crucial character evidence.

In a ruling following opening statements, District Judge Juan Merchan denied Bragg’s request to introduce the infamous Hollywood Access tape, where Trump made controversial remarks, describing it as “locker room talk,” during a private conversation. Bragg intended to use the tape to illustrate Trump’s alleged derogatory views towards women as part of a fraud case related to a hush money payment to a porn star.

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The decision came after Joshua Steinglass, a prosecutor on Bragg’s team, argued that the tape contained “highly inflammatory evidence that is extremely, extremely prejudicial.” Judge Merchan opted to allow Steinglass to read the words spoken on the tape instead, deeming the video itself too prejudicial.

In the tape, Trump can be heard making controversial remarks about women, including the infamous phrase.

Another critical piece of evidence denied admission was a video from E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case against Trump, where she alleged he sexually assaulted her years ago.

As Trump prepared for the commencement of his landmark criminal trial, he utilized his court appearance to rally support for his cause, releasing a video on Truth Social and X, where he accused the prosecution of attempting to silence him as part of a Democratic conspiracy.

“They will try to drastically limit my freedom because I will never let them severely limit your freedoms,” Trump declared in the video. “They want you silenced, and I’m the only one who can save this country because you know they’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you.”

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Despite facing a gag order, Trump and his allies have leveraged Judge Merchan and his daughter, a Democratic strategist, as targets to raise record sums for his legal defense. A fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago last week reportedly raised $50 million, twice the amount of a high-profile Biden fundraiser featuring former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton the week before.

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