Trump hush money case: New trial date scheduled

Trump Hush Money Case
Former US President Donald Trump attends a hearing to determine the date of his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on March 25, 2024. Trump faces twin legal crises today in New York, where he could see the possible seizure of his storied properties over a massive fine as he separately fights to delay a criminal trial even further. (Photo by JUSTIN LANE / POOL / AFP)

In a resounding decision on Monday, a New York state judge firmly rejected Donald Trump’s bid to dismiss the Manhattan district attorney’s hush money case. This came in the wake of a last-minute evidence disclosure by federal prosecutors, setting the stage for a trial scheduled for April 15.

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Trump Hush Money Case : Judge Merchan’s Stance

Justice Juan M. Merchan rebuffed Trump’s motion, emphasizing that District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s team had exceeded their obligations in evidence disclosure. Merchan dismissed claims of prosecutorial misconduct by the defense as “misleading,” firmly putting the trial on track for next month.

Strong Words from the Bench

“The People went so far above and beyond,” Merchan remarked during the proceedings. He firmly dismissed allegations of fault on the part of the New York County District Attorney’s Office for late document production, indicating compliance with discovery obligations.

Trump Hush Money Case : Judge’s Rebuke

Merchan expressed clear frustration with Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, noting discrepancies in interpretations of facts and law. He criticized the delay in requesting documents from federal prosecutors, questioning why action wasn’t taken earlier.

Trump’s Response

Outside the courtroom, Trump reiterated his belief that the case was a “witch-hunt and a hoax,” signaling intentions for appeal. The former president denounced the timing of the case, labeling it as “election interference.”

Trump Hush Money Case : Trial Proceeds

With the judge’s decision, obstacles to the first criminal trial of a former American president are cleared. Trump faces charges related to falsifying business records to conceal alleged extramarital affairs before the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecution’s Response

Bragg’s office brushed off claims of innocence suggested by the disclosed records, highlighting Trump’s alleged involvement in the hush money cover-up scheme. Key figures like Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, are expected to be central to the trial.

Future Proceedings

The trial date remains set for April 15, with jury selection postponed to resolve issues stemming from the evidence disclosure. Blanche sought to delay proceedings further, citing concerns over jury impartiality, a motion granted by the judge.