Donald Trump’s New York hush-money case will start March 25. It’s the first of his criminal trials
Image via AP.

Donald Trump court
Thursday marked Trump’s first return visit to court in the New York case since that historic indictment made him the first ex-President charged with a crime.

Donald Trump’s hush-money trial will go ahead as scheduled with jury selection starting on March 25, a New York Judge ruled Thursday, turning aside demands for a delay from the former President’s defense lawyers.

The decision means that the first of Trump’s four criminal prosecutions to proceed to trial is a case centered on years-old accusations that he sought to bury stories about extramarital affairs that arose during his 2016 presidential campaign. Other cases charge him with plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election and illegally hoarding classified documents at his Florida estate.

In leaving the trial date intact, Judge Juan Manuel Merchan noted a delay in the separate prosecution in Washington related to efforts to undo the election. That case, originally set for trial on March 4, has been effectively frozen pending the outcome of Trump’s appeal on the legally untested question of whether a former President enjoys immunity from prosecution for actions taken in the White House.

Noting that he had resisted defense lawyer urgings from months ago to postpone the trial, Merchan said: “I’m glad I took that position because here we are — the D.C. case did not go forward.”

The hush money trial is expected to last six weeks, the Judge said.

Assuming the New York case remains on schedule, it will open just weeks after the Super Tuesday elections, colliding on the political calendar with a time period in which Trump will be looking to mathematically sew up the Republican race and emerge as the presumptive nominee in this year’s presidential contest. His attorneys cited that schedule in vigorously objecting to the March trial date.

“It is completely election interference to say ‘you are going to sit in this courtroom in Manhattan,’ when there is no reason, said defense lawyer Todd Blanche. “What about his rights?”

Merchan held firm, telling Blanche that he had already considered — and rejected — his position, at one point snapping at the lawyer to “Stop interrupting me, please!”

Speaking to reporters in a courthouse hallway, Trump made a similar case.

“We want delays. Obviously I’m running for election. How can you run for election if you’re sitting in a courthouse in Manhattan all day long? I’m supposed to be in South Carolina now,” said Trump, the GOP front-runner to face President Joe Biden in November.

In fact, Trump has repeatedly attended court proceedings where his presence was not required.

Thursday marked Trump’s first return visit to court in the New York case since that historic indictment made him the first ex-President charged with a crime. Since then, he has also been indicted in Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

The hearing was held amid a busy overlapping stretch of legal activity for the Republican presidential front-runner, who has increasingly made his court involvement part of his political campaign. On Monday, for instance, he voluntarily attended a closed hearing in a Florida case charging him with hoarding classified records.

separate hearing was unfolding in Atlanta on Thursday as a Judge considered arguments on whether to toss Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis off of the state’s election interference case because of a personal relationship with a special prosecutor she hired.

The New York case has long been considered the least legally perilous of the four indictments filed against Trump last year, with the alleged misconduct — generally known to the public for years — seen by many as less grave than accusations of mishandling classified documents or plotting to subvert a Presidential Election.

The Washington case charging him with election interference was officially delayed last month, with the Supreme Court now weighing the immunity question. There’s no new date. The classified documents case in Florida is set for trial on May 20, but that date could be moved. No trial date is scheduled in the Atlanta case.

Over the past year, Trump has lashed out at Merchan as a “Trump-hating judge,” asked him to step down from the case and sought to move the case from state court to federal court, all to no avail. Merchan has acknowledged making several small donations to Democrats, including $15 to Trump’s rival Biden, but said he’s certain of his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Trump is also awaiting a decision, possibly as early as Friday, in a New York civil fraud case that threatens to upend his real estate empire. If the Judge rules against Trump, who is accused of inflating his wealth to defraud banks, insurers and others, he could be on the hook for millions of dollars in penalties among other sanctions.

Along with clarifying the trial schedule, Merchan also rejected a request by Trump’s lawyers to throw out the case.

Trump’s lawyers accuse Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, of bringing the case to interfere with Trump’s chances of retaking the White House. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr.declined to pursue a case on the same allegations.

The charges are punishable by up to four years in prison, though there is no guarantee that a conviction would result in prison time.

The case centers on payoffs to two women, porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, as well as to a Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about Trump having a child out of wedlock. Trump says he didn’t have any of the alleged sexual encounters.

Trump’s lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 in a practice known as “catch-and-kill.”

Trump’s company then paid Cohen $420,000 and logged the payments as legal expenses, not reimbursements, prosecutors said. Bragg charged Trump last year with falsifying internal records kept by his company, the Trump Organization, to hide the true nature of payments.

Trump’s legal team has argued that no crime was committed.


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Lock Her Up

    February 15, 2024 at 11:44 am

    Lock him up!

  • PeterH

    February 15, 2024 at 11:45 am

    ……ladies and gentlemen here in the circus tent’s center ring we’re going to show you dancing bears followed by the first time an ex-president of the United States faces jury selection in a criminal trial! Get your cotton candy and popcorn!

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    February 15, 2024 at 12:12 pm

    Good afternoon Dook 4 Brains Leftys,
    This case will be DOA with the Sage Judge upon arrival.
    Sure the Judge will streatch it out for political pourposes.

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    February 17, 2024 at 1:42 pm

    Good afternoon America,
    In regards to the Fanni Willis case down there in Atlanta I, Earl Pitts American, have been advising Bruh Man on his pending sexual discrimination against Ms. Willis.l and Fulton County, Georgia.
    Without giving away our Sage Stratigy I can share that it all started a few years back when Fanni “ACCIDENTLY” walked in on Bruh Man while he was using the urinal in the mens room. Fanni did the quick “Woman Math” on how far back Bruh Man was standing back from the urinal and quickly had the mathimatical proof that Bruh Man was packin a ginormous “Johnson”.
    Most of you white guys get right up on the urinal to avoid whizzing on the floor due to your genetically inferior “Deminuative Johnsons.
    Well ever since that day Fanni was obsessed with Bruh Man for his ginormous johnson.
    As his boss she would speak to him like he was nothing but a ginormous walking talking johnson and force him to engage in all sorts of pervisuons in her office with the door locked. Then it escalated to the point of holding his job over his head if Fanni did not get more and more and more access to Bruh Mans Ginormas Johnson.
    Bruh Man will win our lawsuit against Fulton County, GA and while I cant disclose what the settlement will be I am looking forward to my 30% attorney fee coming in at around $188M.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “Sexual Harrassment Attorney” American

    • rick whitaker

      February 18, 2024 at 5:59 pm


Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704