Donald J. Trump’s trial is set for March 25, 2024, the judge presiding over Donald J. Trump’s Manhattan criminal case said at a hearing Tuesday.
Mr. Trump attended the hearing remotely, his first appearance since 34 felony charges were brought against him last month. When Judge Juan Mercan announced the trial date, he appeared to react angrily, though his microphone was muted and it was unclear what he said to attorney Todd Blanche, who sat next to him.
The trial is set to take place within three weeks of Super Tuesday, one of the most important dates on the Republican presidential primary calendar. It came just a day before the date was announced by Mr. Trump’s main rival for the Republican nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. ready to announce their candidacyhighlighting the ways Mr. Trump’s legal troubles could complicate his third bid for the White House.
Mr. Trump’s appearance on Tuesday was brief, lasting about 20 minutes. Judge Merchamp referred to his restrictions on Mr. Trump’s use of case material and asked Mr. Blanche whether he had reviewed them with his client. Mr. Blanche said he had.
Prosecutors working for District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg had asked to limit Mr. Trump’s access to some case materials and asked Judge Merchance to bar the former president from disseminating the prosecution’s evidence, including transcripts of witness interviews and grand jury testimony, social media or journalists.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers objected to the request, but At a hearing earlier this month, Judge Melchine said he would approve. He stressed, however, that Mr Trump was free to speak about the “overwhelming majority of the evidence”.
Prosecutors also asked at the hearing to personally read the terms of the restraints — which are contained in a document known as a protective order. Judge Mercan agreed to appear virtually, scheduling a hearing for Tuesday.
Before the court appearance began, Mr. Trump waited in front of the cameras, which could be seen in high-definition throughout the courtroom – an excellent way to meet the former president. Dressed in a navy suit and red, white and blue tie, he squints and glares at the camera, hands clenched and loosened, never staying in the same position for too long. He looked like someone who wasn’t used to waiting.
After the hearing began, Mr. Trump barely spoke with the microphone on. But when Judge Merchan mentioned the trial date, he immediately became agitated, babbling at Mr Blanche from a muted microphone, waving and shaking his head. He then folded his arms in frustration as the judge reviewed the updated motion timetable before the trial.
The defense has until Aug. 29 to file any motions — including one to dismiss the case — and prosecutors have until Oct. 10 to respond. A judge will rule on the motions on Jan. 4.
The charges against Mr Trump stem from hush money paid to porn stars on his behalf during the 2016 campaign. The payment was made by Mr. Trump’s former agent, Michael D. Cohen; after he won the presidency, Mr. Trump repaid Mr. Cohen and was used to Nine of the 11 checks were signed. Mr. Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, then created false records to account for the payments, which it said were made to reimburse Mr. Cohen for his legal services, prosecutors said.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers are seeking to move the case from state court to federal court, a likely long-term effort. A federal judge will consider their request at a hearing in federal court on June 27.