Donald Trump to Appear in NYC Courtroom for Trial Date Finalization in Criminal Case

Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to make an appearance in a New York City courtroom on Thursday, where Judge Juan Manuel Merchan is expected to determine a trial date for the criminal case against him. The charges involve allegations of concealing payoffs to alleged lovers in order to hide potential sex scandals from voters during the 2016 presidential election.

The 77-year-old real estate mogul will take his place at the defense table in a packed courtroom on the 15th floor of the criminal courthouse in lower Manhattan at 9:30 a.m. The hearing, anticipated to last two to three hours, will address Trump’s attempt to dismiss the felony charges related to fudging business records. Additionally, the judge will assess whether Manhattan prosecutors followed proper procedures for disclosing evidence before setting a schedule for the trial.

If the judge confirms the current schedule, jury selection will commence on March 25, coinciding with the Republican primary season. This would make the Manhattan case the first of Trump’s four criminal cases to proceed to trial. The former president faces 34 felony charges stemming from allegations that he concealed $310,000 in “hush money” payments made prior to the 2016 election. These payments were intended to prevent porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal from publicly sharing stories of their alleged affairs with Trump.

According to court documents, Trump, along with his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, devised a plan to have the National Enquirer tabloid pay Daniels $130,000 and McDougal $150,000 for exclusive rights to their stories, which were then buried. Another $30,000 was allegedly paid to silence a former Trump Tower doorman who claimed Trump had fathered a secret child out of wedlock.

The indictment states that Trump falsified records within the Trump Organization, claiming that the reimbursement payments to Cohen were for “legal services” rather than hush money. To secure a conviction on the felony charges, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office must prove that Trump manipulated the records to conceal another crime. Prosecutors argue that the hush money payments exceeded campaign contribution limits and interfered with the 2016 election by suppressing damaging claims of Trump’s infidelity.

While Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, he has labeled the case against him as “election interference” and “political persecution.” He claims that the timing of the unsealing of the charges, just months before the start of the 2024 campaign, supports his assertion. If convicted, Trump could face a potential prison sentence of four years for each charge.

Thursday’s court appearance will mark Trump’s first return to the Manhattan Supreme Court building since his arraignment in April of last year. However, he has been a regular presence in the Manhattan courts, attending opening statements in a separate fraud trial and a civil trial that resulted in an $83.3 million defamation judgment against him for allegations of sexual assault made by E. Jean Carroll.

Author: CrimeDoor

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