Trump trial date set for March in New York hush money case

Donald Trump

A judge on Thursday set jury selection to begin March 25 in former President Donald Trump’s trial on charges that he falsified business records during his successful 2016 presidential campaign.

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Judge Juan Merchan finalized the trial date at a hearing Thursday after rejecting a motion from Trump’s attorneys seeking to dismiss the case, The New York Times reported. Todd Blanche, a lawyer representing the former president, called the decision “a great injustice,” according to CNN.

A grand jury in New York indicted Trump last year on 34 counts of first-degree falsifying business records. The charges were related to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, former Playboy model Karen McDougal and a Trump Tower doorman as part of a scheme aimed at getting him into the White House, authorities said.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing, framing the investigation as politically motivated as he runs in the 2024 presidential election.

In 2018, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, admitting to submitting false invoices to the Trump Organization to get reimbursement for unlawful campaign contributions made in the form of payments to Daniels and McDougal. In federal court, he said that he coordinated with Trump to make the payments with the goal of influencing the election.

That same year, officials with the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., said in a non-prosecution agreement that it paid McDougal to ensure she didn’t share “damaging allegations” about Trump before the 2016 presidential election, according to prosecutors and previous reports.

The case is one of four criminal prosecutions that Trump is facing as he runs for president, The Associated Press reported.

In Florida, federal authorities charged Trump in connection with his handling of hundreds of classified documents that authorities found during a search of his Mar-a-Lago estate in 2022. He is also facing federal charges in Washington, D.C., related to efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, and state charges in Georgia, where he and more than a dozen others are accused of racketeering to keep him in power following his election loss.

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