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Trump’s first criminal trial date March 25 in New York


Former President Donald Trump’s first criminal trial date, in a case involving porn actress Stormy Daniels, will be March 25.

A New York judge rejected a request from Trump to dismiss the case. He faces charges in multiple states while commanding the lead for the Republican nomination in the presidential race.

His lawyers, appearing before Judge Juan Manuel Merchan, said the case will interfere with his campaign to return to the White House. Trump has three other prosecutions unresolved, one of which involved a district attorney under heavy scrutiny in Georgia on Thursday.

Trump’s defense lawyer, Todd Blanche, said the president should not be spending the next two months in preparation for a trial when he should be on the campaign trail. Trump, after the decision, said he would be in court during the day and “campaigning during the night.” It echoes previous statements he has made.

This New York case, with a prosecution led by District Attorney Alvin Bragg, was the first for the former president to be charged with a crime. Others followed in Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

Trump and his legal team say no crime was committed. Prosecutors say he falsified internal records kept by his company, hiding the true nature of payments that involve Daniels ($130,000), former Playboy model Karen McDougal ($150,000), and Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen ($420,000). Prosecutors say the money was logged as legal expenses, not reimbursements.

Reportedly, the payments kept quiet accusations of sexual affairs, including birth of a child. The events are from 2016.

Cyrus Vance Jr., whom Bragg followed into the office, declined to pursue the case. The charges are punishable by up to four years in prison. Consensus among observers is charges in this trial are of lesser consequence than the other three cases.

The judge has expectation of a six-week window for the trial. That’s a start three weeks after Super Tuesday – 14 states hold both Republican and Democratic primaries March 5 – and two days after the Louisiana primaries.

Republican primaries, or conventions, to be held during that time would be in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin on April 2, Wyoming (April 13), Pennsylvania (April 23) and Indiana (May 7). Pennsylvania is a key presidential battleground state, and several congressional seats are considered battlegrounds there and in New York.

Only nine GOP primaries are after Mother’s Day weekend, or the end of Merhan’s estimated window.

The Republican National Convention is July 15-18 in Milwaukee.