Trump to Attend Hearing in New York Criminal Case

A New York judge will hear motions in the New York ‘hush money’ case against Trump, including a bid to dismiss and delay the trial, slated for March 25.
Trump to Attend Hearing in New York Criminal Case
Former President Donald Trump at the New York State Supreme Court during the civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization in New York on January 11, 2024. (Peter Foley / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
Sam Dorman
Michael Washburn
Savannah Hulsey Pointer

What to Know About Today’s Hearing

Former President Trump is headed into a pre-trial hearing for a New York criminal case relating to the disclosure of “hush money” that he allegedly arranged to keep two women quiet about their purported extramarital affairs with him before the 2016 presidential election.

New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan is set to consider Trump’s motion to dismiss the case, as well as a timetable for trial. The trial is currently scheduled for March 25, nearly a year after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought his 34-count indictment accusing the former president of falsifying business records related to the alleged hush money.

President Trump, Mr. Bragg’s office alleges, paid his former attorney Michael Cohen in 11 checks that were illegally disguised as payment in a “non-existent retainer agreement.”

The felony falsifying business records charge also requires the prosecutor to provide that the documents were falsified to further another crime. Mr. Bragg has indicated that it was done to conceal campaign finance violations. President Trump, however, has not been charged with federal campaign finance violations in relation to the alleged hush money payments.

It’s unclear whether President Trump will face any prison time if found guilty; the charge he faces is a Class E Felony, the lowest tier in the state of New York. The Associated Press reported that newspaper archives have historically shown that defendants usually don’t receive prison time for the felony Trump faces.

President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen admitted to arranging the payments to adult actress Stormy Daniels ($130,000) and former Playboy model Karen McDougal ($150,000).

The former president has denied wrongdoing, as well as participating in the alleged affairs. The indictment, he said, was “political persecution” while the payments to Mr. Cohen were legitimate legal expenses.
—Sam Dorman