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Live Updates: Trump Seeks Again to Delay His Criminal Hush-Money Trial

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Ben ProtessWilliam K. Rashbaum

Lawyers for Donald J. Trump had sought a 90-day postponement of the trial so new documents could be reviewed. The Manhattan district attorney’s office countered, proposing a 30-day delay.Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Monday was supposed to be the day that the Manhattan district attorney put former President Donald J. Trump on trial for criminal charges in New York State Court. But the recent disclosure of more than 100,000 pages of records from federal prosecutors who previously investigated some of the same conduct prompted the judge overseeing the trial to delay it until the middle of April.

The three-week delay was shorter than the 90 days proposed by Mr. Trump’s lawyers, who also wanted the judge to throw out the case altogether. But Monday’s hearing — on the day that jury selection had been scheduled to begin — could result in further delays.

The judge, Juan M. Merchan, had been ready to proceed to trial on charges brought by the district attorney’s office, which has accused the former president of covering up a sex scandal during and after his 2016 campaign.

Then, early this month, Mr. Trump’s lawyers and the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, began receiving the documents from the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who in 2018 investigated a hush-money payment at the center of the case. That investigation led to a guilty plea by Mr. Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen — a central witness in the district attorney’s case — to campaign finance violations.

Judge Merchan determined there were “significant questions of fact which this court must resolve,” indicating that he wanted to clarify why it took so long for the records to emerge. He said he would subsequently set a new trial date, if necessary.

Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors have argued against further delays. They recently told the judge that he should forge ahead with the April 15 date as it provides “a more than reasonable amount of time for defendant to review the information provided.”

In January, Mr. Trump’s lawyers subpoenaed the Southern District, which ultimately turned over more than 100,000 pages of records to both the defense and the prosecution.

Last week, Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors said in court papers that the newly disclosed documents contained limited material related to the hush-money payment. They added that the vast majority of the records were immaterial or duplicative of evidence already turned over to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors added that they had previously sought some of those same records from the Southern District last year. It is unclear why the Southern District did not previously provide that material to Mr. Bragg, a close law enforcement partner.

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