A judge recently dealt former President Donald Trump a stinging defeat in his relentless campaign against political foes. Trump’s attempt to subpoena NBCUniversal for material related to a documentary about Stormy Daniels was blocked last Friday by the judge overseeing Trump’s upcoming criminal trial in New York.

The ruling rejected Trump’s claim that Daniels and NBC conspired to damage him by airing the film close to his trial date. In barring what he called a “fishing expedition,” the judge made clear that even the famously litigious ex-president cannot abuse legal procedures to intimidate rivals.

Judge Blocks Trump’s Subpoena Over Stormy Daniels Documentary

Donald Trump had high hopes of digging into NBCUniversal’s archives to find ammunition against his enemies. Unfortunately for the former president, the judge presiding over his upcoming criminal trial had other plans.

Source: Salon

According to reports, Justice Juan Merchan blocked Trump’s subpoena demanding materials related to a recent documentary on Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

Trump’s Trial and Subpoena

Trump faces trial in April for allegedly covering up hush money paid to Daniels during his 2016 campaign. Trump denies the affair and pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying records.

Source: PEACOCK/Stormy Daniels

With the trial looming, Trump subpoenaed NBCUniversal, demanding documents about the documentary “Stormy” and its release date.

Mounting Legal Troubles

The hush money case is just one of several legal issues plaguing Trump. He still faces charges for inciting the Capitol attack and mishandling classified White House documents.

Source: Nypost

However, the Stormy Daniels trial may be the first to actually make it before a jury. Trump’s legal troubles pose a problem as he eyes another presidential run in 2024.

Background on Trump’s Hush Money Payment to Stormy Daniels

Donald Trump’s attempt to cover up his affair with porn star Stormy Daniels ultimately led to criminal charges.

Source: X/@MotherJones

In 2016, Trump directed his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, to pay Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence about the relationship.

The Cover Up

The payment was made through a shell company Cohen set up, and Trump reimbursed him while president.

Source: The Intercept

Prosecutors argue this amounted to an illegal campaign contribution. Trump’s lawyers claim the payment was meant to protect his family, not his candidacy.

The Fallout

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for his role and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Source: Reuters

Trump was later indicted on related charges for directing the illegal payment. His trial begins April 15, though he denies wrongdoing.

Trump’s Claims of Conspiracy Between Daniels and NBC

Trump believes that Daniels and NBCUniversal conspired to damage him by releasing the documentary close to his trial date.

Source: X

However, Justice Juan Merchan found no evidence to support these claims. In his order, Merchan wrote that Trump’s subpoena and demands were “the very definition of a fishing expedition.”

Details on the Stormy Daniels Documentary Released by NBC

The documentary released by NBC, titled “Stormy,” provided an in-depth look into the life of Stephanie Clifford, professionally known as Stormy Daniels.

Source: Wikimedia/Photos by flipchip / LasVegasVegas.com

It detailed her early life and career as an adult film actress, as well as her alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006.

NBC Documentary Uncovered The Affair and Cover-up

The documentary covered the aftermath of the alleged affair and the hush money that Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Clifford to keep the encounter private.

Source: NBCU

Cohen ultimately pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for making the payment and is currently serving a prison sentence.

Lawsuit Over Invalid NDA And Defamation

Clifford filed two lawsuits against Trump, arguing that the non-disclosure agreement she signed was invalid because Trump never actually signed it himself.

Source: Shutterstock/Vitalii Vodolazskyi

She also sued Trump for defamation after he accused her of lying about the affair. Trump and his legal team have denied all of Clifford’s allegations and claims made in the lawsuits.

Reasoning Behind the Judge’s Decision to Block the Subpoena

The judge’s decision to block Trump’s subpoena was based on the fact that his claims seemed unsupported.

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According to Justice Juan Merchan, Trump’s subpoena and demands were akin to a “fishing expedition”—an attempt to find potentially useful information without knowing whether anything actually exists.

No Fishing Expedition For Team Trump

By blocking the subpoena, Merchan avoided allowing Trump’s legal team to conduct a “fishing expedition” that could violate Daniels’ privacy and distract from the actual issues at hand in the trial.

Source: Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid

His decision suggests the judge intends to keep tight control over the scope of discovery in this high-profile case. With numerous criminal charges against him, Trump faces an uphill legal battle. Merchan appears unwilling to allow unnecessary distractions or abuse of the legal process.

Implications for Trump’s Upcoming Criminal Trial

The decision to block Donald Trump’s subpoena could have major implications for his upcoming criminal trial in April.

Source: Seth Wenig-Pool Photo via USA TO/Sipa USA

Judge Merchan made it clear that Trump’s claims about NBC and Daniels conspiring against him were baseless. According to the judge, Trump’s subpoena seemed to be nothing more than a “fishing expedition” to dig up dirt, lacking any real evidence to support his accusations.

Trump’s Other Ongoing Criminal Cases and Investigations

The subpoena related to the Stormy Daniels documentary is not the only legal matter Trump currently faces. In Georgia, Trump is under criminal investigation for attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. Trump’s role in inciting the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is also under examination.

Source: The New York Times

The National Archives and Records Administration recovered 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago in January that Trump should have turned over when he left office. Investigators found highly classified and sensitive information in the boxes.