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Judge in New York hush money case rejects Trump’s attempt to be dismissed and sets trial for March 25



Rochester, New York – A New York judge ruled on Thursday that the hush money case against Donald Trump will proceed as planned, with jury selection beginning on March 25. This will be the first criminal prosecution to proceed against a former president.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan announced his judgment during a hearing in New York that was attended by the former president. He added that he had discussed it with the judge in Trump’s federal election meddling case, which has been postponed and was scheduled to start on March 4.

“At this point I can inform you that we’re moving ahead with jury selection on March 25,” Merchan said, noting he expects the trial to last six weeks.

Regarding a $130,000 payment then-attorney and fixer Michael Cohen made to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump is accused of fabricating company papers.

In the case, Trump is charged with 34 felonies. In addition to denying any misconduct, he has entered a not-guilty plea and has in the past denied having sex with Daniels. Trump was paying Cohen’s legal fees back, according to his lawyers.

“This is not a crime,” Trump said as he entered the courtroom on Thursday.

The ruling is made concurrently with Trump’s attorneys attempting to argue that Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis needs to be removed from an election interference case in which the former president is accused of trying to rig the state’s 2020 election results.
The trial is scheduled for March amid Trump’s attempt to secure the Republican presidential nominee for a record-tying third consecutive election. On Thursday, Trump’s legal team denounced the date as meddling in the election.

“It is completely election interference to say ‘you are going to sit in this courtroom in Manhattan,” said Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche.

“How can you run for election to be sitting in a courthouse in Manhattan all day long?” Trump told reporters outside the courtroom. “I’m supposed to be in South Carolina right now … this isn’t where I should be.”

Trump reiterated the same message outside the courtroom, saying that he’s “stuck here” in New York instead of campaigning in “South Carolina and other states.”

“It’s an election interference case,” he baselessly charged. “Nobody’s ever seen anything like it in this country, it’s a disgrace. It’s a disgraceful situation, actually, and we’ll just have to figure it out. I’ll be here during the day and campaigning by night.”

He continued, accusing without evidence White House and Justice Department of collusion in the case, and he became enraged with New York Attorney General Letitia James, even though she is not connected to this criminal investigation. James and the former president’s firm, the Trump Organization, are parties to a separate civil trial involving commercial fraud.

“It’s all a rigged — it’s a rigged city, it’s a rigged state, which is a shame,” Trump added of his birthplace.

There are 91 felony counts against Trump in all, from four separate criminal prosecutions. In addition to the criminal trials in New York and Georgia, Trump is now facing a federal lawsuit in Florida for alleged improper handling of secret data at his Mar-a-Lago resort and a federal lawsuit in Washington regarding purported attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 election. To every complaint made against him, he has entered a not-guilty plea.