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Judge Rules Trump ‘Hush Money’ Trial Will Begin April 15

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The judge overseeing the criminal hush money case in New York ruled on Monday that the trial will start on April 15, rejecting former President Donald Trump’s request for an additional delay.

Earlier this month, the judge postponed the case’s jury selection for 30 days, citing concerns raised by defense attorneys regarding the federal prosecutors’ tardy production of more than 100,000 pages of potential evidence.

On Monday, Judge Juan Merchan decided to hold the Manhattan district attorney not liable for the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s office’s delayed production of documents, ABC News noted.

“The Manhattan District Attorney’s office made diligent, good faith efforts” to retrieve appropriate material, Judge Merchan said, adding that Trump will not suffer any prejudice due to the late disclosure.

An ABC News reporter asked Trump if he would testify at his trial.

“I would have no problem testifying,” Trump responded. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The judge sounded doubtful during the hearing that a disagreement over possible evidence warranted a delay in the case’s prosecution or dismissal, and he described the defense’s allegations of prosecutorial misconduct as “extremely unsettling.”

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“You are literally accusing the Manhattan DA’s office and the people assigned to this case of prosecutorial misconduct and to make me complicit in it, and you don’t have a single cite to support that position,” Merchan told Blanche.

“This court is of the opinion that there really are not significant questions of fact to be resolved,” Merchan said earlier about the defense’s arguments to delay or dismiss the case.

The defense claimed there had been “widespread misconduct” and “serious discovery violations” by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and that this was reason enough to have the indictment dropped, the trial postponed, and Daniels and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen not allowed to testify.

“This is a witch hunt. This is a hoax. Thank you,” Trump told the media before entering the courtroom this morning.

The District Attorney’s Office allegedly actively suppressed potential evidence from defense attorneys, a charge that prosecutor Matthew Colangelo vigorously refuted.

“No, we are not actively suppressing … discovery or impeachment materials,” Colangelo said, reiterating the claim that most of the documents in question are irrelevant to the case against Trump.

Blanche contended that since going over each document requires time, there should be a wait. He declared, “Every document is important.” “Every single one.”

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Merchan scheduled the hearing for Monday to address a recent defense motion concerning possible evidence and determine the case’s final trial date.

“There are significant questions of fact that this Court must resolve before it may rule on the defendant’s motion,” Merchan wrote in a ruling earlier this month.

Based on the new materials, defense attorneys have demanded a longer trial delay, restrictions on key witness testimony, or the case’s dismissal. They claim the materials undermine the credibility of star witness and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and contain “exculpatory information that undercuts the People’s theory of the case.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office prosecutors denied the defense’s request last week, claiming that the newly revealed possible evidence is “a red herring” and a component of a “strategic delay.”

The prosecution’s filing states that although the 30-day adjournment gave defense attorneys a “reasonable amount of time for the defendant to review the information,” no additional delay was required.

“Defendant has taken every possible step to evade accountability in this case for more than a year,” prosecutors wrote in a filing last week. “Enough is enough. These tactics by defendant and defense counsel should be stopped.”‘

In April of last year, Trump pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment.

The charges were related to falsifying business records, which were connected to a payment made by his lawyer, Michael Cohen, to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, just days before the 2016 presidential election.

After two months, prosecutors provided the defense with 3 million pages of documents as part of the discovery process, during which prosecutors shared evidence obtained during their investigation.

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