Trump Makes His Third Try This Week to Delay Manhattan Trial

Lawyers for Donald J. Trump have spent the early part of this week seeking to stave off the former president’s trial on charges that he covered up a sex scandal.

They tried again Wednesday, filing a civil action in an appeals court against the judge in the case, records show. Although the filing is sealed, three people with knowledge of the matter said that it challenged a wide variety of issues relating to the trial, which is scheduled to start on Monday.

The filing underscored Mr. Trump’s increasing desperation — and scattershot approach — to delaying the trial. Stalling is one of the former president’s favorite legal strategies, not just in the Manhattan case, but in all of his legal entanglements.

The papers include a request that the appeals court pause the case while it considers whether to oust the trial judge, Juan M. Merchan, the people said. Mr. Trump’s lawyers argue that Justice Merchan has a conflict of interest, citing his daughter’s work as a Democratic political consultant.

Ethics experts have said that Justice Merchan does not need to step aside and the judge has previously declined to recuse himself, noting that a judicial ethics panel concluded last year that he had no real conflict. The Trump team recently asked Justice Merchan again to step aside, and the judge is expected to give his answer this week.

In the action against the judge on Wednesday, two of the people said, Mr. Trump’s lawyers also asked the appeals court to find that their client, as a former president, is immune from prosecution. Justice Merchan has rejected that argument.

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