By Karen Freifeld and Luc Cohen
(Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Tuesday said he would likely decline former U.S. President Donald Trump’s request to move from state court to federal court a criminal case stemming from a hush money payment to a porn star.
Trump asserts that federal court is the proper venue for the case, arguing that his actions were related to the presidency, that the charges involve federal election law, and that he is immune from state prosecution.
“The argument is very clear that the act for which the president has been indicted does not relate to anything under color of his office,” U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said at the end of a hearing in Manhattan federal court.
Hellerstein said he would formally rule within two weeks, but expressed what he called his “present attitudes” toward the case.
Trump, front-runnner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, pleaded not guilty in April in Manhattan to 34 state counts of falsifying business records to hide reimbursements to his then-lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment to silence porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had a sexual encounter with Trump. He denies it.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Luc Cohen; Editing by Howard Goller)
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