Judge In Trump Hush Money Case Schedules Trial Date, Denying Request For Delay

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 25: Former U.S. President Donald Trump makes comments following a pre-trial hearing in a hash money case in criminal court on March 25, 2024 in New York City. Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records last year, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 election. Judge Juan Merchan is expected to set a new start date for the trial after it was delayed following the disclosure of new documents in the case. (Photo by Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
11:20 AM – Monday, March 25, 2024

Judge Juan Merchan issued a ruling on Monday, denying former United States President Donald Trump’s inquiry for an extra postponement. The trial over the hush payment to former porn star Stormy Daniels will start on April 15th and jury selection will begin on the same day.


The trial was originally set to start its jury selection on Monday, but Merchan adjourned it for 30 days earlier this month after defense lawyers objected to the federal prosecutors’ late submission of more than 100,000 pages of possible evidence.

On Monday, the judge dictated that the District Attorney of New York County is not responsible for the tardy submission of records from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.

The judge stated that: “The Manhattan District Attorney’s office made diligent, good faith efforts to retrieve appropriate material,” adding that as a result, Trump will not deal with any prejudice due to the late acknowledgment.

The judge seemed 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 “very disconcerting.”

“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 said to defense attorney Todd Blanche.

“This court is of the opinion that there really are not significant questions of fact to be resolved,” Merchan stated earlier regarding the defense’s assertions to postpone or dismiss the case.

The defense faulted the Manhattan district attorney’s office of “widespread misconduct” and “serious discovery violations,” as well as asserting that they justified a dismissal of the indictment, a suspension of the trial, and the restriction on Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels from testifying.

“This is a witch hunt. This is a hoax. Thank you,” Trump announced to reporters before entering the courtroom on Monday morning.

However, Matthew Colangelo, the prosecutor in the case, aggressively refuted the accusation that the District Attorney’s Office purposefully concealed evidence from defense attorneys.

“No, we are not actively suppressing … discovery or impeachment materials,” Colangelo stated.

Blanche asserted that going over each paper takes a lot of time and therefore results in a delay. 

“Every document is important,” Blanche said. “Every single one.”

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

“[T]here are significant questions of fact which this Court must resolve before it may rule on Defendant’s motion,” Merchan stated in a ruling in early March.

In light of the new evidence, the defense has asked for a longer trial period, restrictions on important witness testimony, or the case to be dismissed. They claim that the materials undermine the credibility of star witness and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and that they 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.” Prosecutors’ filing states that although the 30-day adjournment gave defense attorneys a “reasonable amount of time for the defendant to review the information,” no further delay was needed.

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

As a result, Trump expressed that the hush money case against him was a “pure case of voter intimidation and election interference.”

“This was a case that could have been brought three-and-a-half years ago and they decided to wait [until] now, just during the election, so that I won’t be able to campaign,” Trump maintained.

Defense attorneys requested a longer adjournment and the preclusion of Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, and an expert witness’ testimony if Judge Merchan does not dismiss the case. Ultimately, Merchan will have to decide who should bear any responsibility for the evidence’s delayed production.

“It’s really going to come down to have the prosecutors done what they’re supposed to do — meaning, have they been diligent and made a good-faith effort to get material that they believe exists and should be turned over,” former federal prosecutor Jarrod Schaeffer stated.

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