Trump Criminal Trial Scheduled for March 2024
The trial of Donald J. Trump has been scheduled for March 25, 2024, the judge presiding over his Manhattan criminal case said Tuesday.
Mr. Trump, who appeared on video in his first courtroom appearance since 34 felony charges were unveiled against him last month, appeared to react angrily when the trial date was announced by Justice Juan Merchan. Mr. Trump’s microphone was muted and it was unclear what he said to the lawyer seated next to him, Todd Blanche.
The appearance itself was brief. Justice Merchan reviewed the restrictions that he has placed on Mr. Trump’s use of material from the case, asking Mr. Blanche whether he had reviewed the restrictions with his client. Mr. Blanche said that he had.
Prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, asked that Mr. Trump’s access to some case material be limited and requested that Justice Merchan prohibit the former president from disseminating the prosecution’s evidence, including records of interviews with witnesses and grand jury testimony, on social media or to reporters.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers fought that request, but at a hearing earlier this month, Justice Merchan said he would grant it. He emphasized, though, that Mr. Trump would be free to speak about the “vast majority of the evidence.”
Prosecutors also requested at that hearing that Mr. Trump be read the terms of the restrictions — which are contained in a document called a protective order — in person. Justice Merchan agreed to a virtual appearance, setting up the hearing on Tuesday.
Before the appearance started, Mr. Trump waited on camera, visible in high-definition to the entire courtroom — a remarkable way to encounter the former president. He squinted and glowered at the camera, clasping and unclasping his hands, never keeping them in the same position for very long. He looked like a man unaccustomed to waiting.
Mr. Trump barely spoke with his microphone on once the hearing got underway. But as Justice Merchan reviewed the motion schedule that will proceed the trial, he appeared increasingly agitated, frequently speaking to Mr. Blanche.
The charges against Mr. Trump stem from a hush money payment made to a porn star on his behalf during the 2016 campaign. The payment was made by Mr. Trump’s former fixer, Michael D. Cohen; after he won the presidency, Mr. Trump reimbursed Mr. Cohen, signing nine of the 11 checks that were used to repay him. Prosecutors say that Mr. Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, then created false records to account for the payments, saying they were made to repay Mr. Cohen for legal services.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers are seeking to move the case to federal court from state court, likely a long shot effort. A federal judge will consider their request in a hearing in federal court on June 27.