Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial in New York will begin on April 15, according to a judge

Former President Donald Trump’s trial for criminal hush money in New York is set to begin with jury selection on April 15, as announced by Judge Juan Merchan during a hearing on Monday.

The trial date has been rescheduled after Merchan recently postponed Trump’s original trial start date of March 25. The delay was agreed upon by state prosecutors, who received over 100,000 pages of documents from federal prosecutors this month, potentially related to the case. Merchan initially stated that the trial would not commence before mid-April in response to this development.

In a brief news conference held in the lobby of his Wall Street building following the hearing, Trump expressed his intention to pursue a postponement of the hush money trial beyond the upcoming Election Day on Nov. 5. Additionally, he emphasized his desire for a complete dismissal, stating, “I shouldn’t have to go through a trial.”

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is currently facing 34 felony counts for falsifying New York business records. These records were supposedly altered to conceal a $130,000 payment made as hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Daniels has alleged that she had a sexual encounter with Trump, although he has vehemently denied these claims.

Trump allegedly falsified records in order to hide the true intention behind the reimbursement payments made to his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. It was Cohen who initially paid $130,000 to Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecution ‘not at fault’ for late documents, judge rules

During Monday’s hearing, Merchan dismissed the assertions made by Trump’s lawyers that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office was responsible for acquiring and providing the documents at an earlier stage. The Trump legal team had contended that the entire case should be dismissed due to the prosecution’s alleged efforts to impede President Trump from accessing crucial evidence. It is worth noting that some of the documents are linked to Michael Cohen, who confessed to federal tax and campaign finance offenses in 2018 and may potentially be summoned by state prosecutors in relation to the hush money case.

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Merchan, on the other hand, concluded that the prosecutors went beyond their mandated duties. He emphasized that Bragg’s office does not have authority over the federal prosecutors’ office.

Trump’s team initially requested a 90-day trial delay to thoroughly review the new documents if Merchan didn’t dismiss the entire case. However, this request was rejected on Monday. In response, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche sought court permission to file a motion to delay the trial due to pre-trial publicity. Merchan allowed Blanche to file the motion but made it clear that the trial is still slated for April 15th.

Legal experts have pointed out that although the 34 felony counts technically come with a maximum penalty of 136 years in prison, it is highly unlikely that Trump would receive such a severe sentence even if he were to be convicted on all counts.

Trump is currently dealing with three separate criminal cases that are yet to be scheduled for trial. One federal case and one state case from Georgia are centered around the allegations of Trump’s illegal attempts to manipulate the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, there is a federal case accusing Trump of mishandling classified documents. In all these cases, Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.

The trial for Donald Trump’s New York criminal hush money case is set to begin on April 15, as confirmed by the judge.

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