Judge delays Trump's hush-money trial until mid-April due to last-minute material dump.(Part-1)

New York — The court delayed Donald Trump's New York hush-money criminal trial until at least mid-April to investigate a last-minute evidence dump that his lawyers argued hindered their defense.

After Trump's lawyers argued that they only recently began obtaining more than 100,000 pages of papers from a prior federal inquiry, Manhattan Judge Juan Manuel Merchan granted a 30-day stay starting Friday and scheduled a hearing for March 25.

The trial was slated for March 25. Due to the postponement, the trial will begin on April 15. Prosecutors said a brief delay was fine. Trump's lawyers want a three-month delay and a dismissal. The Trump campaign maintained Friday that the action “has no basis in law or fact, and should be dismissed.”

Merchan wrote to Manhattan prosecutors and Trump's defense team Friday that he wanted to determine “who, if anyone, is at fault for the late production of the documents,” whether it affected either party, and whether sanctions were appropriate.

The judge sought a timeframe of document requests and delivery. He also wants all communications between the Manhattan district attorney's office, which is pursuing Trump, and the 2018 investigators. The Manhattan DA declined comment. Trump lawyer Todd Blanche declined comment.

Merchan halted the first of Trump's four criminal indictments from going to trial. Trump, the presumed 2024 Republican presidential nominee, has tried to delay all of his criminal proceedings, arguing that he should focus on his campaign trial.

Trump's lawyers highlighted the evidence issue last week, but their court petition wasn't released until Thursday. Their motion included many requests. They requested a 90-day delay, which would delay the trial until early summer, the exclusion of certain witness testimony, and the dismissal of Trump's allegations.

Trial was scheduled on March 25, but prosecutors were willing to adjourn for 30 days “in an abundance of caution and to ensure that defendant has sufficient time to review the new materials.”

Trial on this matter is adjourned for 30 days from the date of this letter on consent of the People," Merchan wrote the prosecution. “If necessary, the Court will set the new trial date when it rules on Defendant's motion after the hearing.” Merchan reminded the parties, including Trump, to “not engage or otherwise enter into any commitment pending completion of this trial”.

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