Crucial Trump Court Date Set

Jury selection in Donald Trump’s Manhattan hush money case has been scheduled to begin on March 25, making it the first of Trump’s four criminal indictments to go to trial, the Washington Post reported.

In a February 15 hearing, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said he would proceed with the trial on the charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over the hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels when Trump was running for president in 2016.

Judge Mercan said the trial would probably take about six weeks, which would take it into early May.

Todd Blanche, Trump’s attorney in the case, objected to the judge’s decision, arguing that the defense would require more time to prepare. Blanche also claimed that the trial would interfere with his client’s campaign for president. With the trial likely to bleed into May, Blanche also pointed out that Trump’s federal trial on the classified documents case was currently scheduled to begin in late May.

Judge Merchan was unmoved, telling Blanche that the judges in Trump’s four cases couldn’t wait to see what the other judges were doing before scheduling a trial date. He said it was time for the court to move forward.

Merchan did concede that he conferred with US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the federal election interference case in Washington, before he decided to move forward with jury selection on March 25.

During last Thursday’s hearing, Judge Merchan also rejected the defense’s request to dismiss the case.

Trump’s attorneys had argued that the district attorney allowed too much time to pass before filing charges, denying Trump his rights.

In his 30-page written decision, Merchan concluded that the delays in the case were either justified or excused. At the same time, Merchan limited the scope of the argument prosecutors could use about Trump’s alleged motives for falsifying records.