Finally, a Judge Steps Up and Denies a Trump Trial Delay Bid

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GOP front-runner Donald Trump is officially headed to court next month, the first of his four upcoming criminal trials expected sometime this year.

On Thursday, Trump headed to New York for a court hearing on his hush-money case. Judge Juan Manuel Merchan ignored his requests for a delay and determined the trial would start on March 25, when jury selection will begin, and last approximately six weeks.

Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He’s facing 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Trump’s legal team tried to protest the decision to go to trial, citing the legal load attached to so many disparate criminal trials for one individual.

“We have been faced with compressed and expedited schedules in every one of those trials,” Todd Blanche, an attorney also representing Trump in his classified documents case, told the judge. “We—meaning myself, the firm and President Trump—have been put into an impossible position.”

Blanche also attempted to make a political argument against heading to trial, bemoaning the fact that Trump is “in primary season” and that “it is a different landscape” than it was during the last hearing.

But Judge Merchan wasn’t having any of it, quickly sidestepping Team Trump’s further attempts to delay the trial.

“You don’t have a trial date in Georgia. You don’t have a trial date in Florida,” he retorted.

Trump has already started his habitual mudslinging against the court and the trial itself, claiming over the last year that Merchan, who has acknowledged a $15 donation to President Joe Biden, is a Trump-hating judge appointed by a Democrat—even though all the judges in his trials have been randomly selected. Meanwhile, Trump has whined on TruthSocial that going to court for his alleged misdeeds counts as “election interference.”

“There was no crime here at all. This is just a way of hurting me in the election because I’m leading by a lot,” he told a crowd of reporters shortly before entering the courthouse. “They want to rush it because they want to get it desperately before the election.… They wouldn’t have brought this—no way—except for the fact that I’m running for president and doing well.”

Cohen, who is anticipated to be a star witness in this trial, has no doubts that the former president will be found guilty.

“I can tell you from everything I know about it, he’s going to be found guilty,” Cohen, the former Trump lawyer, said during The New Republics Stop Trump Summit in October.

“This is the Al Capone theory,” he added. “They didn’t get him on murder, extortion, racketeering, prostitution, etc., they got him on tax evasion. I truly believe the Alvin Bragg case is the easiest case to prove of all of the criminal cases.”

The dates for Trump’s three other indictments are not yet on the books. His January 6 election interference trial, which was originally slated for March 4, was postponed while the Supreme Court reviews appeals on Trump’s presidential immunity claim.

This article has been updated.