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Judge to Make Critical Pretrial Ruling in Trump Falsified Business Records Case on Monday

© AP Photo / Evan VucciIn this June 26, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Republican lawmakers in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington
In this June 26, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Republican lawmakers in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2024
Former US President Donald Trump is facing four separate criminal cases, two at the federal level and two brought by the States of New York and Georgia. Trump also leads US President Joe Biden in national polls and most swing states.
Judge Juan Merchan will hold a pre-trial hearing in New York on Monday to determine if there should be further delays in former US President Donald Trump’s falsified business documents case, one of four criminal cases he is facing.
The case was initially scheduled to begin on Monday but was delayed to at least April 25 after prosecutors released more than 100,000 pages of documents to Trump’s defense team. Prosecutor Alvin Bragg did not oppose the 30-day delay but argued that no further delays should be placed on the trial.
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Of the criminal cases Trump is facing, this case was the most likely to conclude before the Presidential election in November, but a significant delay could push it past election day. Trump’s legal team is arguing that the prosecution intentionally held the documents back and included exculpatory evidence favorable to the defense. If Merchan agrees, he could throw the case out and possibly sanction Bragg for potential Brady violations, but he could also issue a delay in the case or keep the trial date, scheduled for March 25, as-is.
“The People have engaged in widespread misconduct as part of a desperate effort to improve their position at the potential trial on the false and unsupported charges in the Indictment,” Trump’s legal team argued in court filings. “[R]eports relating to statements by Cohen that are exculpatory and favorable to the defense.”
Most legal experts quoted in US media predicted that a delay could happen but they doubt that the judge will throw out the case.
The documents relate to federal investigations into Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer who is expected to be the prosecution’s star witness. The documents were not in Bragg’s office and were instead in different offices around the country. Bragg argues that the Trump team intentionally waited until January to ask for the documents to cause a delay in the trial.
“[T]he belated nature of the recent USAO productions is entirely the result of the defendant’s own inexplicable and strategic delay in identifying perceived deficiencies,” the prosecution argued.
Prosecutors also claim that less than 300 of the documents are both new to the defense and related to Trump's trial.
Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business documents related to repayments he made to Cohen for hush money payments Cohen paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels who claimed she had an affair with then-candidate Trump in 2016. Trump pleaded not guilty but admits to making the payments. He also denies that the affair took place.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 after being convicted of campaign finance violations related to those payments and for lying to Congress about how long discussions about a potential Trump Tower in Moscow continued.
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