Donald Trump manages to get 30-day delay in court showdown with Stormy Daniels

Donald Trump persists in denying an affair with Stormy Daniels.

Donald Trump persists in denying an affair with Stormy Daniels. Photo: Getty/TND

Donald Trump’s criminal trial stemming from a 2016 hush money payment to a porn star will start in late April, after a 30-day delay granted by the judge after the former US president said late disclosure of evidence was hurting his preparation.

Justice Juan Merchan’s decision on Friday to delay the first-ever criminal trial of a former US president marks another victory for Trump, who has sought to slow proceedings in his various legal entanglements as he prepares to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 election.

The case in New York state court in Manhattan, which had been due to start on March 25, was the first of four criminal indictments brought against Trump in 2023. While none of the other three cases have firm trial dates, the delay to the New York trial could complicate scheduling the others.

In a court filing earlier, prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office said they were ready to proceed to trial on March 25 but did not oppose a 30-day delay to make sure Trump had a chance to review the new material.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the New York case to 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s $US130,000 ($A198,150) payment to porn star Stormy Daniels for her silence before the 2016 election about a sexual encounter she says they had a decade earlier.

Trump denies an encounter with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

His lawyers have argued Cohen paid off Daniels to spare Trump’s family embarrassment, not to boost his electoral chances as prosecutors in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office have alleged.

In a court filing dated March 8 but made public on Thursday, Trump’s lawyers asked Merchan for a 90-day delay and to consider dismissing the indictment altogether.

They said they needed more time to review tens of thousands of pages of evidence turned over in March by the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, which previously investigated Cohen’s payment to Daniels. They said some of the material included in the late disclosure showed Trump did not commit crimes.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges of violating campaign finance law through the payment to Daniels. The US Attorney’s office in Manhattan did not charge Trump in that case.

Bragg’s office said on Thursday it was ready to proceed to trial on March 25, but did not oppose a 30-day delay.

Trump also faces three other federal and state criminal indictments, including two stemming from his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden, as well as one tied to his handling of sensitive government documents after leaving office in 2021. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.


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