ANI Photo | US: Judge pushes back Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial by 30 days

The judge overseeing former US President Donald Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial delayed it by 30 days after new evidence was turned over to the parties, The Hill reported.
Jury selection was set to begin on March 25, which would have marked Trump’s first criminal trial. However, judge Juan Merchan agreed to delay the trial after prosecutors consented to the one-month delay.
The court’s decision came after the parties told the judge that the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York turned over more than 70,000 pages of records in recent days, some of which are relevant to the case.
The judge, Juan Merchan, said he would adjourn the trial date for 30 days, adding that a hearing will be held on March 25 to discuss the schedule and the new documents, The Hill reported.
“The Court will set the new trial date, if necessary, when it rules on Defendant’s motion following the hearing,” Merchan wrote, adding, “This Court’s directive that the parties, including the Defendant, not engage or otherwise enter into any commitment pending completion of this trial remains in effect.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said earlier it was ready for trial as scheduled. However, it hinted that it would not oppose a 30-day delay out of an “abundance of caution.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team said the new documents require a delay that extends beyond late April.
In a letter written to the judge on Thursday, Trump attorneys Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles stated, “For now, however, an adjournment is necessary, and thirty days is not sufficient given the volume of recently produced materials and the nature of the ongoing dispute.”
Bragg’s office said it previously requested the records and put the blame on the US Attorney’s Office. However, Trump’s lawyers accused Bragg of trying to “rewrite the record.” According to the court filings, federal prosecutors are making their final production of documents on Friday, The Hill reported.
During the hearing, Merchan said he would review the delay in receiving the records from federal prosecutors. He asked each side to submit a detailed timeline, including their correspondence with the US Attorney’s Office, according to The Hill.
“The correspondence must include but not be limited to letters, subpoenas, e-mails, notes, messages, etc. The requested documents are necessary for this Court to properly assess who, if anyone, is at fault for the late production of the documents, what prejudice, if any, was suffered by either party and what sanction(s) if any, are appropriate,” Merchan wrote.
“This Court stresses that the hearing will be limited to the specific issue of Defendant’s motion to dismiss on the grounds of the People’s alleged discovery violations related to the production of records by USAO-SDNY — only,” Merchan wrote, according to The Hill.
The delay in the hearing will benefit Trump, as he wants to delay his ongoing criminal trials. In the hush money trial, Trump has filed a separate motion requesting to toss evidence on the basis of his immunity claims, suggesting the entire case be stopped. The Supreme Court is considering the matter.
In connection with the case, Trump said the prosecutors were involved in discovery violations as he requested that the charges levelled against him be tossed and sanctions imposed against the prosecutors.
Bragg’s office rejected the allegations stressing that it met its obligations.

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