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NY prosecutors tell judge they’re willing to delay Trump hush money trial until late April

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is willing to delay Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial for up to 30 days, according to a court filing.

The trial is currently scheduled to start on March 25.

The potential delay throws the date for what’s supposed to be the former president’s first criminal trial into question, a surprise twist that represents a major boost for Trump – whose defense teams have employed a strategy of consistently trying to delay all of his trials past the election.

Trump is facing criminal charges in four distinct cases, but until Thursday, the New York case was the only one with a clear trial date. The federal election subversion case is on hold until the Supreme Court hears Trump’s immunity claims next month, while Trump’s lawyers are pushing to delay his classified documents mishandling trial in Florida until August or even beyond the election.

And in Georgia, a judge is set to rule within days on whether to disqualify the Fulton County district attorney who is prosecuting the former president over his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election there, which could throw that entire case into doubt.

Trump was charged by the District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office last year with 34 counts of falsifying business records. The charges stem from reimbursements made to Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen for hush money payments he made before the 2016 election to an adult film star alleging an affair with Trump. The former president has pleaded not guilty and denied the affair.

The proposed delay in the New York trial is in order to give Trump’s lawyers time to review new materials turned over by federal prosecutors this week, the DA’s office said.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York sent about 31,000 pages of discovery material Wednesday and will have more to share, the new filing states.

“Nonetheless, and although the People are prepared to proceed to trial on March 25, we do not oppose an adjournment in an abundance of caution and to ensure that defendant has sufficient time to review the new materials,” the filing says.

The documents were produced in response to a mid-January subpoena from Trump’s legal team, according to the district attorney’s letter. The district attorney’s office said it’s consenting to the trial delay because of the latest tranche of 31,000 documents that came this week.

Trump’s attorneys have asked to delay the trial by 90 days – or dismiss the case entirely – over recent records productions in the last 10 days from federal prosecutors, according to the district attorney’s letter.

Bragg’s office says it didn’t violate discovery protocol to warrant a dismissal of the case, but say they’re open to a postponement of the trial given the new records produced by federal prosecutors.

The US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

Separately, Trump has asked Judge Juan Merchan to delay the trial until the US Supreme Court weighs in on his presidential immunity claim. The court is not scheduled to hear that case until April 25, and a ruling may not come until the end of the court’s term in late June or early July.

Finger pointing over reasons behind delay

In a newly obtained motion filed last week, Trump asked the judge to sanction Manhattan prosecutors for turning over relevant information too late.

Manhattan federal prosecutors recently turned over more than 100,000 pages, including documents that Trump’s team says relate “to statements by Cohen that are exculpatory and favorable to the defense.”

The records also address adult film star Stormy Daniels’ “bias and motive to monetize her status as a witness in this case, and it is extremely problematic with respect to prejudicial pretrial publicity,” according to Trump’s motion.

Many details of what’s come to light in the new records turned over by federal prosecutors are redacted from Trump’s motion.

Trump’s team is accusing Bragg’s office of having withheld the material, but prosecutors say that Trump’s team was delayed in issuing the subpoena that led to the new information being turned over.

Trump’s lawyers say Bragg’s office knew about “core impeachment material” in December or earlier but didn’t turn it over to the defense until March 4.

“It is equally clear that the People were aware that the USAO-SDNY possessed additional discoverable materials, including extrinsic evidence of criminal conduct by Cohen that is admissible in connection with defense cross-examination,” they wrote.

Trump attorneys accuse prosecutors of trying to prevent the former president from getting exculpatory evidence relating to Cohen, writing: “It is difficult to conceive of a good faith explanation for the People’s conduct, as it was simply an attempt to prevent President Trump from obtaining relevant and exculpatory evidence.”

Bragg’s office should’ve obtained these documents long ago, Trump’s team wrote, claiming that it “collected some materials but left others with the federal authorities, in the hope that President Trump would never get them.”

In a response letter Thursday, Bragg’s office pointed the finger back at Trump’s team, saying the late production was a function of Trump’s own delay. Prosecutors say Trump chose to wait until January to subpoena more materials from the federal agency and just raised concerns over the federal records this month.

Trump’s motion claimed that the latest document dump was produced in response to a January Trump subpoena to federal prosecutors because Bragg’s office has been fighting Trump disclosure requests since last fall.

The former president’s team argues a trial delay is now necessary “to permit President Trump a reasonable period of time to review new discovery that the People failed to timely produce and for prejudicial publicity relating.”

Trump also wants the judge to preclude testimony from Cohen and Daniels at trial and wait to set a new trial date until federal prosecutors have completely finished turning over documents.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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