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Trump hush money trial to begin April 15

A judge in New York sided with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg at a hearing on Monday and set a trial in the hush money case against former President Donald Trump to begin on April 15.

Judge Juan Merchan found Bragg violated no discovery rules after Trump had asked the judge to dismiss the case or extensively delay the trial because of a late-stage dump of discovery documents Trump received this month.

Trump had accused Bragg, an elected Democrat, of attempting to hide evidence in the case that could help Trump after the former president received the discovery, involving tens of thousands of pages of material, and found that a fraction of it was exculpatory.

“It is easy to see the wrongful motives that drove [Bragg] to attempt to make sure that these reports never saw the light of day, and to try to prevent President Trump from obtaining them,” Trump’s attorneys had argued in a court filing. “Those motives are deeply unethical and require sanctions.”

Merchan disagreed, finding on Monday that Bragg was “not at fault” and that he “complied and continues to comply” with his discovery obligations, according to a report from the courtroom.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Merchan denied Trump’s requests to dismiss the trial and declined to sanction Bragg or delay the trial any further than the roughly three-week delay already in place.

The trial will begin with jury selection and take place at the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. It is expected to last several weeks, and Trump will be required to be present every day that court is in session.

Bragg is expected to rely on Michael Cohen, a convicted felon and Trump’s former attorney, as a key witness as he seeks to prove Trump falsified business records during his 2016 campaign for president.

Much of the late-arriving discovery Trump received this month came from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and was related to the office’s federal case against Cohen. The office secured a guilty plea from Cohen in 2018 on several federal charges, including charges related to the same hush money scheme Bragg has now charged Trump for at the state level.

Bragg had blamed the U.S. Attorney’s Office for failing to deliver all of the requisite Cohen-related discovery in a timely manner and accused Trump of employing delay tactics by calling for a case dismissal and lengthy trial delay.

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