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Trump subpoena to NBC over Stormy Daniels documentary blocked by judge

In World
April 05, 2024

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) –Donald Trump‘s subpoena to Comcast-owned NBCUniversal for material related to a recent documentary about porn star Stormy Daniels was blocked on Friday by the judge overseeing the former U.S. president’s April 15 criminal trial.

Justice Juan Merchan said Trump’s claim that Daniels and NBC conspired to release the film close to the trial to damage him was unsupported.

“His subpoena and the demands therein are the very definition of a fishing expedition,” the judge wrote in a court order.

Neither Trump’s lawyers nor NBCUniversial immediately responded to requests for comment.

Trump is accused of covering up his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels for her silence before the 2016 election about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in 2006.

The 2024 Republican presidential candidate has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records and denies any such encounter with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

The documentary, “Stormy,” was released on NBC’s streaming service Peacock on March 18.

The trial was initially scheduled to start on March 25, but Merchan delayed it by three weeks after Trump alleged prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office were trying to keep evidence related to Cohen from him. The judge later found that concern to be meritless.

In Friday’s order, Merchan wrote that Trump subpoenaed NBC on March 11 for documents related to the trial’s premiere date and any compensation to Daniels. NBC asked Merchan to block the subpoena on March 20, and said Daniels had no right to approve the documentary’s content or release timing, the order said.

Trump also faces three other criminal indictments, but they do not yet have firm trial dates. That means the hush money case in New York state court in Manhattan could be the only one to go to trial before his expected rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 election.

The other cases stem from Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 loss to Biden and his handling of sensitive government documents after leaving the White House in 2021. He has pleaded not guilty in those cases as well.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Additional reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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