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Donald Trump’s first criminal trial was scheduled to begin on Monday but has been delayed due to issues with document discovery related to charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney. Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business documents in relation to hush money payments made to cover up an alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If the trial does commence in April, it would be the first of four criminal trials Trump is facing and potentially the only one to occur before the November election.

The trial delay came after over 100,000 new documents were turned over by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, related to the 2018 prosecution of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, a key witness in the case. Trump’s lawyers argue that the new information could be exculpatory for the former president and they need at least 90 days to properly review the material. The judge has ordered a postponement of the trial for 30 days, with the earliest possible start date being April 15. The focus of the pre-trial hearing is on the document production from the Southern District of New York, not other issues such as claims by Trump’s lawyers regarding a documentary about Daniels.

The documents in question are related to the 2018 federal investigation into Cohen, which resulted in charges on campaign finance violations and tax evasion. Records include bank records, search warrants for Cohen’s devices and homes, FBI interview notes from special counsel Robert Mueller’s interviews with Cohen, and more. In total, over 200,000 pages of records have been handed over this month. Both Trump’s attorneys and prosecutors are blaming each other for the delay in document turnover, with Trump’s team alleging the district attorney was hiding evidence and the district attorney arguing that Trump’s attorneys caused the delay by not raising issues earlier.

While the effort to dismiss the indictment is unlikely to succeed, the judge could indicate on Monday whether the delay in the trial is sufficient to review the new documents and potentially block certain testimonies. The judge has ruled that testimony from Cohen will be allowed, despite objections from Trump’s team regarding his credibility. Additionally, the judge has approved Daniels as a potential witness, stating that she is part of the timeline. The trial is expected to last six weeks, with Trump expected to be in the courtroom four days a week during that period, excluding Wednesdays.

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