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Former President Donald Trump has been gearing up for what is becoming a more challenging 2024 presidential primary, but he has likely been put at a significant disadvantage by a Manhattan court.
“Trump threw up his hands in frustration Tuesday as a judge scheduled his criminal trial for March 25, 2024, putting the former president and current candidate in a Manhattan courtroom in the heat of next year’s presidential primary season,” the Associated Press reported.
During a pretrial hearing in the hush-money case involving adult film star Stormy Daniel, Trump appeared via video conference and scowled into the camera as Judge Juan Manuel Merchan advised that he clear his schedule of all other commitments for the potential duration of the trial, which might extend over several weeks, the AP noted further.
“Just had New York County Supreme Court hearing where I believe my First Amendment Rights, ‘Freedom of Speech,’ have been violated, and they forced upon us a trial date of March 25th, right in the middle of Primary season,” a frustrated Trump posted to his Truth Social platform.
“Very unfair, but this is exactly what the Radical Left Democrats wanted. It’s called ELECTION INTERFERENCE, and nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before!!!” Trump added.
The AP added:
Trump pleaded not guilty last month to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to bury allegations that he had extramarital sexual encounters. He has denied wrongdoing.
Merchan said he arrived at the March 25 trial date after discussions with Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors. Trump’s lawyer, Susan Necheles, said Trump knew about the date prior to Tuesday’s hearing and said she didn’t see his exasperated reaction.
Trump’s case is proceeding in state court even as his lawyers seek to have it moved to federal court because some of the alleged conduct occurred while he was president. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has until next week to file paperwork stating why it should remain in state court, where the historic indictment was brought.
Trump’s Manhattan court date hearing comes as other lawyers for the former president sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting a meeting to discuss what they see as “unfair treatment” of their client.
According to Fox News Digital, the former president’s attorneys sent the letter to the AG on Tuesday.
“We represent Donald J. Trump, the 45′ President of the United States, in the investigation currently being conducted by the Special Counsel’s Office. Unlike President Biden, his son Hunter, and the Biden family, President Trump is being treated unfairly,” the letter says, according to the outlet.
“No President of the United States has ever, in the history of our country, been baselessly investigated in such an outrageous and unlawful fashion. We request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrated by your Special Counsel and his prosecutors,” it added.
Fox News Digital noted further:
The letter comes as Special Counsel Jack Smith has been working to wrap up his probe into the Trump classified documents case for the past few weeks, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
It’s unclear when Smith will announce what came out of the investigation or if he plans to prosecute Trump.
Garland appointed Smith as special counsel in November 2022 after the FBI searched for missing classified documents in a raid at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Aug. 8, 2022.
Garland has also appointed a special counsel to look into President Joe Biden’s potential mishandling of classified documents found at an office in Washington, D.C., as well as one of his Delaware homes.
Robert Hur, who was appointed by Trump as a U.S. attorney, was been selected to lead the investigation in January. It’s also not clear when he will provide an update on the status of his investigation as well.