Trump to Stand Trial on March 25 in NY Criminal Hush Money Case

A New York court refused Donald Trump’s plea to have the indictment relating to the payment of hush money to a porn star dismissed on Thursday, making him the first former president of the United States to go on trial for criminal charges. The trial is scheduled for March 25.

As he seeks the Republican nomination to oppose Democratic President Joe Biden in the U.S. election on November 5, Trump will go on trial in at least one of the four criminal charges he is facing, according to Justice Juan Merchan’s decision made at a contentious hearing in Manhattan.

The 34-count indictment accuses Trump, 77, of fabricating financial records to hide the $130,000 payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election. Trump had requested Merchan to dismiss the allegations. Merchan used less time than

Ahead of the hearing, Trump repeated his claims that the case is politically motivated.

“They wouldn’t have brought this except for the fact – no way – except for the fact that I’m running for president and doing well,” Trump said in a hallway outside the courtroom.

A handful of protesters held signs denouncing Trump and shouted “no dictators in the U.S.A.” outside the courthouse.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat. The trial is set to start before Trump’s three other criminal cases.

The case centers on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels – whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – to prevent her from publicly speaking ahead of the 2016 election about a sexual encounter she has said she had with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied this occurred.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to violating federal campaign finance laws.

Trump may effectively have wrapped up the Republican nomination by the time the trial is scheduled to start. He has won the first four state nominating contests. Dozens more will have taken place before the trial date. Opinion polls show him with a wide lead over his lone remaining primary challenger, Nikki Haley, and effectively tied with Biden.

But one in four Republicans and about half of independent voters have indicated they would not vote for Trump if he is convicted in any of his four criminal cases, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche during the hearing pressed Merchan to reconsider the March 25 trial date, citing scheduling issues with the other cases.

“It is completely election interference to say that you are going to sit in this courtroom in Manhattan when there’s no reason for it,” Blanche said.

“He’s not going to be at more than one criminal trial at the same time,” Merchan said. “Stop interrupting me, please.”

Blanche said he might try to move the trial out of Manhattan, where Trump is likely to face a liberal-leaning jury pool.

Trump’s political and legal calendars are increasingly overlapping ahead of his expected rematch with Biden, who defeated him in the 2020 election. Trump has used his frequent court dates to help raise money for his presidential campaign, though the strategy is seeing diminishing returns after he raked in millions around his first appearances last year.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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