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Trump expected to appear in court for hearing in hush money case

Former President Donald Trump is expected to appear in court during a hearing Monday in the New York hush money case against him.

Judge Juan Merchan had postponed the trial, originally scheduled to begin Monday, until at least mid-April. The postponement of the trial came after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought the hush money case against the former president, said he supports a 30-day delay in the trial in response to Trump’s request for a postponement in order to review documents that federal prosecutors had begun turning over related to their prosecution of former longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Bragg’s office, however, warned Merchan against delaying the trial further, saying that it should proceed April 15 because fewer than 300 of more than 170,000 documents turned over by federal prosecutors are potentially relevant to Trump’s criminal defense.

Trump’s lawyers have pointed fingers at the district attorney’s office for failing to obtain the records sooner and asked Merchan to toss out the charges. The DA’s office decried the arguments by Trump’s counsel as a “red herring.”

Merchan scheduled the Monday hearing after Trump’s attorney’s filed a motion related to document production in the case, and said he would set a new trial date “if necessary” upon ruling on the motion.

Bragg has alleged that Trump had fraudulently altered business records related to hush money payments that he signed off on. Cohen claimed that Trump directed him to pay $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Daniels maintains that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, following his marriage to Melania Trump.

Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges in the hush money case and continues to deny having a sexual encounter with Daniels. But the former president has acknowledged making repayments to Cohen, who is expected to appear as a key witness in the trial.

Merchan last week denied Trump’s request to bar Cohen and Daniels from testifying in the case. In a court filing last month, Trump’s lawyers argued that Cohen and Daniels shouldn’t testify because they are “liars.”

in 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges, including making secret payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, making false claims before Congress about the then-president’s business dealings with Russia and failing to report millions of dollars in income.

Monday’s hearing in the hush money case comes the same day as a deadline for Trump to pay more than $450 million for bond in the New York civil fraud case against him. Trump has appealed that ruling and vowed to challenge it “all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”

Source: NBC News