Donald Trump's first criminal trial will begin next month judge in 'hush money' case rules

15 February 2024, 15:06 | Updated: 15 February 2024, 16:12

Donald Trump's bid to have his hush-money trial dismissed
Donald Trump's bid to have his hush-money trial dismissed. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

A judge has thrown out Donald Trump's bid to dismiss the Stormy Daniels hush-money case and has set a trial date for March 25.

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Trump, who will become the first former president to stand in a criminal trial, scowled at the packed courtroom as he walked to the front where his lawyers were sat at a table.

He sat back in his chair as Judge Juan Merchan threw out his bid to dismiss the case where he is accused of paying the adult firm star $130,000 to keep quiet about their alleged affair.

Donald Trump arriving at court
Donald Trump arriving at court. Picture: Alamy

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Extraordinary security was in place at the New York Criminal Court ahead of the hearing. Roads near the courthouse in downtown Manhattan were closed off and barricades put along the streets with dozens of police officers standing guard.

Anyone entering the court had to go through two sets of security screenings: one on the ground floor and a second one on the 15th floor where the courtroom was located.

Trump is facing three other criminal trials for election interference and mishandling classified documents, but the hush money case will be the first. He has denied 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

Speaking as he entered the court, Trump insisted "there is no case" and said New York should be focusing on violent crimes and the surge of migrants rather than "made up crimes".

He ripped into the "dirty" and 'crime-ridden' Big Apple, claimed President Joe Biden is targeting him because he is ahead in the polls and insisted there is "no crime" even if he was found "guilty."

The 77-year-old admitted that he wants to delay the trial ahead of the general election.

The case centres on years-old accusations that Trump sought to bury stories about extramarital affairs that emerged during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen is expected to be the star witness.

Daniels herself has said she will be testifying some time in March and could reveal embarrassing details about her affair with the former President.

It is the first of four criminal prosecutions against Trump to proceed to trial amid his bid to return to the White House.