Trump's NY Trial Date Is in the Middle of Primary Season

He made video appearance in criminal case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 23, 2023 4:52 PM CDT
Trump Gets a Trial Date in NY Criminal Case
Former President Donald Trump, left on screen, and his attorney, Todd Blanche, right on screen, appear by video, as his other attorney Susan Necheles, right, looks on, before a hearing begins in Manhattan criminal court, in New York, Tuesday, May 23, 2023.   (AP Photo/Curtis Means via Pool)

Donald Trump threw up his hands in frustration Tuesday as a judge scheduled his criminal trial for March 25, putting the former president and current candidate in a Manhattan courtroom in the heat of next year’s presidential primary season. Trump, appearing by video conference at a pretrial hearing in the hush-money case, glowered at the camera as New York Judge Juan Manuel Merchan advised him to cancel all other obligations for the duration of the trial, which could last for several weeks, the AP reports.

Trump, wearing a blue suit against a backdrop of American flags at his Florida estate, then turned to a lawyer by his side—their brief discussion inaudible on the video feed—before sitting with his arms folded for the remainder of the hearing. Trump pleaded not guilty last month to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records at his family company, the Trump Organization. At Tuesday's hearing, Merchan reviewed an order barring Trump from publicly disseminating certain evidence turned over by prosecutors. Trump is allowed to speak publicly about the criminal case, according to Merchan’s order, but he risks being held in contempt if he uses evidence turned over by prosecutors in the pretrial discovery process to target witnesses or others involved in the case.

Trump was spared a personal appearance at the courthouse, avoiding the mammoth security and logistical challenges that accompanied his arraignment last month . Instead, the Republican was connected by video conference, with his face beamed onto courtroom TV monitors. Merchan, noting Trump’s "special" status as a former president and current candidate, has made clear that the protective order shouldn’t be construed as a gag order and that Trump has a right to publicly defend himself.

story continues below

In a post on his Truth Social network after the hearing, Trump said he believed his First Amendment rights had been violated. "They forced upon us a trial date of March 25th, right in the middle of Primary season," he wrote. "Very unfair, but this is exactly what the Radical Left Democrats wanted. It’s called ELECTION INTERFERENCE, and nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before!!!" (More Donald Trump stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.