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Trump's NY hush money trial to begin March 25, judge decides

Judge Juan Merchan quickly decided to start the trial as scheduled, denying a motion to dismiss the case.
Trump's NY hush money trial to begin March 25, judge decides
Posted at 6:36 AM, Feb 15, 2024

A New York court held a pretrial hearing on Thursday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case as he faces 34 counts of falsifying business records. 

Judge Juan Merchan quickly decided to start the trial March 25 as scheduled, denying a motion to dismiss the case. The hush money case will be the first of four potential criminal trials for Trump. Trump's lawyers have attempted to get the charges against the former president thrown out. 

Merchan previously told Trump to cancel other obligations he may have during the trial. 

Trump was in attendance at Thursday's hearing. 

Attorneys for Trump argued that the trial should be delayed now that he is a defendant in four separate cases. 

SEE MORE: Jack Smith wants Supreme Court to let Trump's election case proceed

The March 25 date will make the start of jury selection. For much of Thursday's hearing, the sides argued about questions that should be posed to the jury. Merchan said questions should be about whether someone can be fair and impartial, adding that if jurors are eliminated based on their political parties, then the two sides will run out of jurors to strike. 

The defense and prosecution debated whether jurors should be asked about which TV shows they watch, do they believe the 2020 election was rigged, and whether they donated to Trump's campaign. Merchan urged the two sides to come to an agreement on jury selection questions before next month's jury selection.

The start of the trial comes as some states hold primaries to decide who the Republican presidential nominee will be this year. Trump is considered the overwhelming favorite after easily winning the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has alleged that Trump falsified records in an effort to prevent damaging stories from emerging during the 2016 presidential campaign. Bragg says Trump falsified records to hide payments to attorney Michael Cohen for him to pay Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal and former doorman Dino Sajudin. 

Cohen has alleged the payments added up to be about $420,000.

Prosecutors say the Trump Organization paid Cohen in monthly installments and a year-end bonus check. 

The charges Trump faces in New York are considered a Class E felony, the lowest among felony counts in New York. The charges are arguably the least serious among the four criminal cases Trump faces. 


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