Judge Sets Trial Date In Trump’s New York Hush Money Criminal Case

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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The New York Supreme Court on Monday set April 15 as the beginning of a criminal trial of former President Donald Trump, rejecting his effort to delay the proceeding, according to multiple reports.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been charged with 34 felony counts of allegedly falsifying business records related to an alleged payment of “hush money” to Stephanie Clifford, a pornographic actress known by the stage name “Stormy Daniels,” in exchange for silence about their alleged extramarital affair. Trump had sought to delay the case’s proceedings as well as sanction the prosecutors of the New York County District Attorney’s Office, though both efforts were rejected by Acting Justice Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the case. (RELATED: Manhattan DA Asks Judge To Impose Gag Order On Trump)

“This is a witch hunt. This is a hoax,” Trump said as he entered the courtroom on Monday. “This is election interference…they’re dying to get this thing started. They want this so badly, and there’s a lot of corruption,” Trump added at a news conference shortly after the proceedings concluded.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 25: Former president Donald Trump sits with his lawyer Susan Necheles before a hearing at Criminal Court on March 25, 2024 in New York City. Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records last year, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 election. (Photo by Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images)

Voir dire, or jury selection, in the trial will begin on April 15, while opening arguments have not yet been scheduled. Merchan appeared to chide Trump’s attorneys for seeking to delay the proceeding.

“Why did you wait until two months before trial? Why didn’t you do it in June or July?” Merchan asked Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche. He pleaded that the trial should be delayed to give Trump’s legal team more time to review documents provided to prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice, which is also prosecuting Trump in different proceedings, pertinent to this case.

Prosecutors, by contrast, argued that of the 170,000 documents turned over to them, less than 300 were relevant to Trump’s current proceeding, making any delay unnecessary.“Enough is enough. These tactics by defendant and defense counsel should be stopped,” they wrote in a court filing opposing Trump’s motion.

“Starting this trial anytime before the election is completely unfair to President Trump,” Blanche said at his news conference. “We believe that we have a tremendous amount of information now…[April 15] is not a day we should go to trial, and we’re going to continue to fight.”

In addition to scheduling the trial, Merchan denied Trump’s motion to sanction prosecutors. “This court is of the opinion that there are really not significant questions of fact to be resolved,” Merchan said on this issue, while similarly chiding Trump’s attorneys for their motion.

“That you don’t have a case to cite right now is really disconcerting, because all the allegations that the defense makes is incredibly serious, unbelievably serious,” Merchan told Trump’s attorneys from the bench during the hearing, according to CBS News. “You are literally accusing the Manhattan D.A.’s office and the people assigned to this case of prosecutorial misconduct, and trying to make me complicit in it, and you don’t have a case to cite?”

The court was adjourned at 12:15 p.m. EDT.

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