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A judge in New York City has handed former President Donald Trump a victory in a criminal case being pursued against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
According to reports on Friday, Judge Juan Merchan blocked two subpoenas issued by Bragg seeking access to email sent by former first lady Melania Trump as well as other documents in the case.
“Prosecutors for Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg’s office had sought to obtain those emails and documents as part of a felony case against Trump for alleged falsification of business records,” CBS News reported, but Merchan ruled that the subpoenas were overly broad.
The denied subpoenas sought almost a year’s worth of emails exchanged between Trump Organization employees and White House officials, over two years of Trump’s travel schedules, as well as emails shared between former Trump executive assistant Rhona Graff and Melania Trump and between Graff and former director of Oval Office operations Keith Schiller.
“This request would yield significantly more responsive records than necessary,” Merchan wrote in his ruling, according to the news outlet.
In the ruling, Merchan hinted that he would not block another subpoena seeking the lengthy videotaped deposition of Trump, which he provided to attorneys representing writer E. Jean Carroll before a federal civil trial where he was found liable for sexually abusing her, CBS News noted.
While portions of the deposition were presented during the trial, Merchan did not directly order the entire tape to be handed over to prosecutors. Instead, he directed the prosecutors to approach the federal judge in the case and seek clarification on whether the remaining parts of the video were still protected by a confidentiality order that was established before the trial, the outlet noted further.
Merchan’s order was issued on July 7, but it only became publicly known on Thursday when it was filed by Bragg’s office in the Carroll case, the news outlet noted. Alongside the filing, a letter was included, requesting input from the federal judge regarding the matter concerning the tape of Trump’s deposition.
Prosecutors “have demonstrated that the request seeks items that are relevant and material” to the New York criminal case, the judge wrote.
CBS News added:
Trump entered a not guilty plea in April to 34 felony counts of falsification of business records related to a payment his former attorney made to adult film star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election. His March 30 indictment was the first time a former president had ever been charged with crimes.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office alleges Trump orchestrated a “catch and kill” scheme to suppress damaging information before the 2016 election, and then allegedly falsified business records to conceal three payments, including $130,000 that Trump’s attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen paid to Daniels.
The Western Journal reported in late June that Bragg’s office was going after the former first lady’s emails.
On social media, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former advisor to Melania Trump, disclosed that during her time in the White House, the former first lady utilized various communication methods, which included multiple email addresses, texts, and the Signal app.
Winston Wolkoff gained notoriety for secretly recording phone calls with Melania during her tenure as first lady. Subsequently, she used the recorded conversations as the foundation for a book. The revelation raises the potential for investigators to closely examine these digital exchanges.
In a Twitter post, Wolkoff noted: “Melania Trump used several email addresses, texts, and Signal to communicate with me and others while working in the White House and prosecutors want to see them.”
Though she hasn’t been seen much in public, Melania Trump nevertheless recently voiced her support for his third White House bid following his one term in office.
“He has my support, and we look forward to restoring hope for the future and leading America with love and strength,” the 53-year-old said in an interview published in May. “My husband achieved tremendous success in his first administration, and he can lead us toward greatness and prosperity once again.”