‘Trumped up charges’: Donald Trump in court for trail date hearing

Former United States President Donald Trump is in court Monday for what is likely the final hearing before his New York hush money criminal case goes to trial.

“This is a witch hunt. This is a hoax. Thank you,” Trump told the media before entering the courtroom this morning.

The case, which was initially scheduled to begin jury selection on Monday, was adjourned for 30 days by Judge Juan Merchan — effectively placing the new trial date at approximately April 15 — after defense attorneys raised issues with the late production of over 100,000 pages of potential evidence by federal prosecutors.

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Merchan set Monday’s hearing to resolve a recent defense motion related to the potential evidence and set a final trial date for the case.

“[T]here are significant questions of fact which this Court must resolve before it may rule on Defendant’s motion,” Merchan wrote in a ruling earlier this month.

Defense attorneys have demanded a lengthier delay of the trial and limits on key testimony or the dismissal of the case based on the new materials, which they said damage the credibility of star witness and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and contain “exculpatory information that undercuts the People’s theory of the case.”

Last week, prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office pushed back on the defense’s request, arguing that the recently disclosed potential evidence is “a red herring” and part of a “strategic delay.” While the 30-day adjournment provided defense attorneys with a “reasonable amount of time for defendant to review the information,” no further delay was necessary, according to the prosecutors’ filing.

“Defendant has taken every possible step to evade accountability in this case for more than a year,” prosecutors wrote in a filing last week. “Enough is enough. These tactics by defendant and defense counsel should be stopped.”‘

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election.


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