Trump hush-money trial set to start April 15

A judge on Monday declined to further push back former President Donald Trump’s upcoming criminal trial in New York, setting jury selection to begin April 15, The New York Times reported.

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The trial will focus on hush-money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and others before the 2016 presidential election. Jury selection was initially set to begin Monday, however, Judge Juan Merchan pushed back that date earlier this month after prosecutors said they received new evidence from authorities.

Attorneys for Trump aimed to have the trial moved further out, arguing that they needed more time to review the recently uncovered evidence. Merchan heard arguments over the case in New York on Monday and issued his ruling from the bench, according to the Times.

Addressing reporters after the decision came down, Trump repeated his claims that the case is politically motivated as he prepares to face President Joe Biden when voters go to the polls to pick the next president in November.

“This is a case that could have been brought three and a half years ago, and now they’re fighting over days because they want to try and do it during the election,” he said. “This is election interference, that’s all it is.”

The former president added that his attorneys plan to appeal.

The ruling came down on the same day that Trump faced a deadline to post a $464 million bond in an unrelated civil fraud case in New York. Earlier Monday, an appellate court lowered Trump’s bond to $175 million.

Last year, a grand jury in New York indicted Trump on 34 counts of first-degree falsifying business records. The charges were related to hush money payments made to Daniels, former Playboy model Karen McDougal and a Trump Tower doorman as part of a scheme aimed at getting him into the White House, authorities said.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

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