Trump’s hush money trial delayed until April after new dump of potential evidence

The judge in Donald Trump’s hush money trial agreed to delay the trial’s start date by 30 days after prosecutors received an influx of materials to review, just two weeks ahead of the trial’s initial start date.

Judge Juan Merchan wrote on Friday, 15 March that the trial would be postponed by 30 days, meaning it would begin in mid-April.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg asked the judge overseeing the criminal case on 14 March to delay the trial by as much as 30 days after the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) produced 31,000 pages of records the day prior. Prosecutors also noted on Friday that they are expecting an additional 15,000 pages of potential evidence.

In response, Mr Trump’s team requested an “immediate adjournment” of more than 30 days, citing that the trial date would be moved such that it would “conflict with Passover.” His team also previously requested to pause the trial until the US Supreme Court rules on his “presidential immunity” claim; those arguments will not be heard until 25 April.

Judge Merchan wrote there will also be a “prompt hearing” on 25 March to resolve “significant questions” around “the circumstances surrounding the document production” and the scheduling of a trial start date “if necessary.”

Mr Bragg said that while most of the new batch of filings are unrelated to the case, roughly 172 pages of witness statements could be relevant.

The Manhattan DA also accused Mr Trump’s team of trying to postpone the hush money trial by failing to timely request materials from the USAO that could be relevant to the case. “The timing of the USAO’s productions is a result solely of defendant’s delay despite the People’s diligence,” Mr Bragg wrote.

The slew of new records are related to a federal investigation into Michael Cohen, whose testimony is key to the case. Mr Trump is facing 34 counts of falsifying business records, including Mr Cohen’s payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The former president has pleaded not guilty.

The trial delay comes exactly one month after Judge Merchan set the trial date. The judge said at the time that it is expected to last five to six weeks, with 15 to 17 days for the prosecution’s arguments, running from 9.30am to 4.30pm ET daily, except Wednesdays.