Donald Trump will face the first ever criminal trial of a former US president on 15 April over alleged hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Justice Juan Merchan denied the defence’s request to delay the case.

Mr Trump faces four criminal cases, but this may be the only one to make it to a courtroom before November’s election.

The highly anticipated trial regarding former President Donald Trump’s alleged involvement in hush-money payments is scheduled to commence on April 15th, marking a pivotal moment in the legal saga surrounding the controversial figure.

The trial, which has been eagerly awaited by both Trump’s supporters and detractors, will focus on accusations that Trump orchestrated payments to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with him before the 2016 presidential election. These payments, allegedly made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, have been at the center of multiple legal battles and investigations.

The case has its origins in the investigation led by federal prosecutors in New York, who delved into the finances of Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges including campaign finance violations related to the hush-money payments, asserting that he had acted at the direction of then-candidate Trump.

While Trump himself has not been charged with any crimes in connection to the payments, the trial represents a significant legal threat to the former president’s legacy and political ambitions. Critics argue that the payments were made to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, constituting a violation of campaign finance laws and raising questions about Trump’s integrity and fitness for office.

Trump, for his part, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations as politically motivated attacks by his opponents. He has repeatedly characterized the investigation as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” echoing language he used throughout his presidency to discredit inquiries into his conduct.

The trial is expected to attract intense media scrutiny and public attention, with analysts predicting that it could have far-reaching implications for Trump’s future political prospects. A conviction or even damaging revelations emerging during the proceedings could tarnish Trump’s image and influence his ability to mount a potential comeback bid for the presidency in the future.

The trial’s commencement on April 15th is likely to reignite debates over accountability, justice, and the rule of law in American politics, underscoring the enduring divisions and controversies that continue to define the post-Trump era.

As the legal showdown looms, all eyes will be on the courtroom as prosecutors and defense attorneys present their cases, and the fate of one of the most polarizing figures in recent American history hangs in the balance.

Published: 26th March 2024

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