Manhattan DA Agrees to 30-Day Delay in Trump Hush Money Trial

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
March 14, 2024Politics
Manhattan DA Agrees to 30-Day Delay in Trump Hush Money Trial
Former President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Rome, Ga., on March 9, 2024. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump has scored a partial win in his bid to postpone his criminal trial in New York, in which the former president faces 34 felony counts of allegedly falsifying business records in connection with so-called “hush money” payments.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has agreed to a 30-day delay of the trial, which was supposed to start on March 25, according to a March 14 court filing.

President Trump had requested a 90-day delay in the start of the trial—or a full adjournment or dismissal based on claimed discovery violations—in order to have a chance to review the 73,000 or so pages of evidentiary documents produced by the District Attorney’s office since March 4.

Mr. Bragg argued in the filing that the late-term production of the evidence doesn’t warrant dismissal and that only about 172 pages are directly relevant to the case.

“Nonetheless, in light of the distinctive circumstances described below, the People do not oppose a brief adjournment of up to 30 days to permit sufficient time for defendant to review the USAO productions,” he wrote.

In particular, the Offices of the United States Attorneys (USAO) produced roughly 31,000 pages of additional records on March 13, while indicating that there would be more documents produced next week.

Judge Juan Merchan, who’s presiding over the case, still has to sign off on the delay.

President Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the case, calling it a politically motivated ploy to hurt his 2024 presidential campaign.

What’s the Case About?

Mr. Bragg indicted President Trump with 34 counts of allegedly falsifying business records in order to conceal $130,000 in payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in exchange for keeping quiet about her allegations of an affair.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen said he made $130,000 in a number of separate payments to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Steffanie Clifford, via a shell company that was then reimbursed by President Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, and recorded as legal expenses.

In 2018, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law in connection with the payments. In his plea deal, Mr. Cohen claimed he made the payments at President Trump’s direction and that he was reimbursed by President Trump’s company, even though he earlier claimed he paid the money out of his own pocket.

Under New York state law, falsifying business records is a misdemeanor. But if the records fraud was used to cover up or commit another crime, the charge could be elevated to a felony.

Mr. Bragg has charged President Trump with a felony falsifying records charge, which would require prosecutors to prove that it was done to hide the commission of a second crime.

A number of legal experts have challenged the validity of Mr. Bragg’s move to elevate the misdemeanor into a felony.

President Trump recently asked the judge to block certain evidence and witness testimony in the case, accusing prosecutors in a 47-page motion of planning to put forward “improper arguments” and “inadmissible evidence” in order to bolster their “listless ‘zombie’ case” and interfere in the upcoming presidential election.

At the top of the list of what President Trump wanted Justice Merchan to block was any new testimony from Mr. Cohen, who has admitted to lying to Congress.

Other demands included blocking testimony from Ms. Clifford, former Trump doorman Dino Sajudin, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, as well as other requests related to evidentiary and procedural matters.

Mr. Bragg opposed the request in a filing, in which he called President Trump’s request unwarranted and “unprecedented.”

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.