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Trump's New York hush money trial will start March 25

Former President Donald Trump arrives at a Manhattan criminal court on Thursday in New York.
Mary Altaffer
/
AP
Former President Donald Trump arrives at a Manhattan criminal court on Thursday in New York.

New York Judge Juan Merchan has rejected an attempt to dismiss the charges in the hush money case against former President Donald Trump, and a jury trial will begin as originally scheduled on March 25.

The case was brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who charged Trump with 34 felony counts last year, alleging he falsified New York business records in order to conceal damaging information before the 2016 presidential election. That included hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who was threatening to go public with charges that she had had an affair with Trump not long after he married Melania Trump. Trump, who was present for Thursday's court hearing before Merchan, has denied the affair.

With this case, Trump became the first former president in U.S. history to be criminally indicted.

Trump pleaded not guilty and has called the investigation and charges, without evidence, a politically motivated "witch hunt."

The trial is expected to last six weeks and Trump, the current front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, would need to juggle time in the courtroom and on the campaign trail as the general election against President Biden, the current Democratic front-runner, kicks into full gear. The charges have done little to dent Trump's popularity among his base. Instead, they appear to have bolstered his popularity.

After the trial date was set Thursday, the Make America Great Again PAC quickly sent out an email criticizing Bragg's record on New York City crime. Bragg's office has pushed back on claims it is not tough on crime.

Trump is facing a combined 91 state and federal charges, including several related to his role to stay in office after he lost the 2020 election to Biden. This could be Trump's first criminal case to advance to the trial phase. It could also overlap with a federal election interference case in Washington, D.C. — depending on how and whenthe Supreme Court rules on Trump's presidential immunity arguments related to that case.

During Thursday's hearing Judge Merchan noted he had spoken to Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the election interference case, about timing in that trial before moving forward with setting a date for his New York trial.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.