Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels 'Hush Money' Case, Sets March Trial Date

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Feb 15, 2024 - 03:00 PM

The judge in former President Donald Trump's New York hush-money trial says the case will go forward as scheduled, with jury selection beginning on March 25.

The decision by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was made after consulting with the judge in Trump's now-delayed federal election interference case in Washington DC.

Trump was in attendance on Thursday for the hearing to determine whether Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in an alleged scheme to conceal stories about alleged extramarital affairs which former porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal sprung on the billionaire during the 2016 election.

Thursday marked Trump's first return to the court in the New York criminal case since he became the first ex-president indicted in US history. He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. - which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.

Sparks flew in the coutroom, as Trump's attorneys blasted the decision to keep the March date - arguing that Trump will have to stand trial in New York while simultaneously attempting to seal the Republican nomination.

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

Merchan at one point told Blanche at one point "Stop interrupting me."

In recent weeks, Merchan has taken steps to prepare for the trial - which would be the first for Trump of his several cases, AP reports.

Over the past year, Trump has lashed out at Merchan as a “Trump-hating judge,” asked him to step down from the case and sought to move the case from state court to federal court, all to no avail. Merchan has acknowledged making several small donations to Democrats, including $15 to Trump’s rival Joe Biden, but said he’s certain of his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Thursday’s proceeding is part of a busy, overlapping stretch of legal activity for the Republican presidential front-runner, who has increasingly made his court involvement part of his political campaign.

The recent postponement of a March 4 trial date in Trump’s Washington, D.C. election interference case removed a major hurdle to starting the New York case on time. -AP

Trump has denied any of the alleged sexual encounters.

At the time, Trump's lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 in a practiced coined "catch-and-kill."

Trump's company then paid Cohen $420,000 and marked the payments as legal expenses vs. reimbursements, according to prosecutors.