Alvin Bragg Prepared for Donald Trump Trial, But Open to Delay if Necessary

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg expressed his willingness to postpone the trial in the criminal case against former President Donald Trump. In a court filing on Thursday, Bragg emphasized that his office is not opposed to a potential delay.

The trial for Donald Trump in New York City is scheduled to start on March 25. Trump is facing allegations of making hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford, during his 2016 presidential campaign. However, Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, announced on Thursday that his office is open to a potential delay of up to 30 days, even though they are fully prepared to proceed to trial as planned.

The trial, which Trump requested to postpone for 90 days, comes as he faces three other criminal indictments while simultaneously running for a second term in the White House.

The Context

In the spring, Bragg’s office took the lead in pressing criminal charges against Trump. They accused the former president of falsifying business records and attempting to hide hush-money payments made during his initial presidential campaign. Trump, however, maintains his innocence and denies any involvement in an affair with Clifford. He has pleaded not guilty to the 34 felony charges brought against him.

The former president has been trying to delay his numerous legal challenges until after the presidential election in November. He has consistently accused prosecutors of trying to impede his chances of re-election. Last week, Trump’s defense team asked for a 90-day delay in his criminal case in Manhattan. This request came after federal prosecutors made tens of thousands of pages of records related to the hush-money payments accessible.

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What We Know

In a recent filing, Bragg revealed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) provided approximately 73,000 pages of records pertaining to their investigations on March 4. However, Manhattan prosecutors have identified only around 172 pages of “witness statements” from these records that are considered relevant to Trump’s case.

Federal prosecutors have released an additional 31,000 pages of documents, as revealed in Bragg’s filing on Wednesday. These records pertain to the investigations conducted by federal prosecutors in 2018 regarding the hush-money payments that were at the core of Trump’s case. The investigations eventually led to charges against Michael Cohen, the former attorney and fixer of the ex-president. In January, Trump had issued a subpoena to the USAO requesting these records.

In his filing, Bragg stated that his office is not against an adjournment as a precautionary measure and to allow the defendant enough time to review the new materials. However, he emphasized that there is no justification to dismiss the case against Trump.

Views

In their recent filing, Trump’s defense team made serious allegations against Bragg, accusing him of engaging in widespread misconduct. They claimed that Bragg deliberately tried to delay the production of records that could have been beneficial to the former president. Furthermore, they accused Bragg of suppressing a significant amount of exculpatory evidence related to Michael Cohen.

According to a report by Politico, Trump’s attorneys argued that the people have not simply been complicit in the suppression of evidence, but have actively tried to prevent President Trump from accessing crucial materials that he is entitled to.

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Bragg’s office, however, placed the blame on Trump’s team, asserting that the delay in producing documents related to the case by the USAO is a result of the defendant’s own delay.

Trump’s press team was contacted by Newsweek for comment on Thursday via email.

What’s Next?

Last month, Judge Juan Merchan of New York expressed his anticipation for the hush money case, scheduling the trial to commence on March 25. He estimated that the case would span approximately six weeks.

Merchan will need to make a decision on the requests made by both Trump and Bragg to delay the start of the trial. It is possible that the ruling issued by Merchan may be less than the 30 days that Manhattan prosecutors had requested.

This article has been updated with additional information and background.

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