Trump judge sets hush money trial date as bid to dismiss case denied

Donald Trump’s request that the business fraud charges against him in relation to a 2016 hush money payment be thrown out has been denied and the judge in the case has announced that jury selection will begin on 25 March.

Judge Juan Merchan’s ruling means that it’s likely to become the first criminal prosecution of a former president.

The business fraud charges stem from a hush money payment to adult actor Stormy Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 election. She alleged that she had had an affair with Mr Trump in the mid-2000s.

Mr Trump was seen exiting Trump Tower in New York shortly after 8.30am on Thursday morning, waving to bystanders, some of whom hurled yells of “traitor” at the former president before he entered his motorcade.

The former president faces 91 felony counts spread out across four indictments in Washington, DC, Florida, Georgia, and New York City.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg was the first to get an indictment of the former president when he accused him in spring 2023 of having committed business fraud to cover up the alleged affair with Ms Daniels.

The Democratic district attorney has framed the case as Mr Trump interfering in an election by hiding relevant information from the electorate.

“Defendant’s motions to dismiss are denied. I spoke with Judge Chutkan, as you know there are a lot of moving parts. So at this point, I can tell you we will plan for jury selection on March 25,” Judge Merchan said, according to Inner City Press.

The Judge was referring to Judge Tanya Chutkan, who’s in charge of the election interference case against Mr Trump in Washington, DC, a case which was previously expected to go to trial first.

“A discussion with Judge Chutkan, then just announcing the March 25 trial here, it’s a great injustice,” Mr Trump’s attorney said, according to Inner City Press.

“President Trump has been indicted in three other cases. There are thousands of pages of discovery. We are faced with compressed and expedited schedules … There’s been briefs to the DC Court of Appeals, and now the Supreme Court,” the lawyer added.

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