On Tuesday, Donald Trump became the first U.S. president, both former and current, in history to have had criminal charges filed against him during his arraignment at a New York court. However, according to legal experts, it is unlikely that the timeline for trial suggested by prosecutors was going to be followed in connection to the hush money payment.
Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe. The investigation looked into the $130,000 hush money payment made by Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The payment was allegedly made in exchange for her silence over their alleged affair prior to the 2016 presidential election.
On Tuesday, Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan set December 4th as the next date that the former President needs to appear in court.
Prosecutors have also requested that the trial date be set for January 2024. This would only be a few weeks before the Iowa caucus which is a crucial part of the Republican presidential primary. Trump announced his candidacy to the 2024 presidential race in November 2022, as such his lawyers have pushed for the trial to take place later in the year.
Neama Rahmani, former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, suggested that Trump might be trying to delay the trial in the hopes that following the 2024 presidential election he will be back in the White House.