The Trump Docket: Judge delays criminal trial in New York


Donald Trump, on the left; Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, on the right

Former President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., Feb. 24, 2024. (Francis Chung/POLITICO via AP Images); Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr. makes a law enforcement-related announcement at the Manhattan DA Offices on February 8, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by: NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx )

The first criminal trial of a former president will be delayed, a judge in New York ruled on Friday, giving Donald Trump an additional 20 days to prepare himself for proceedings in the hush money and election interference case.

It was a dynamic week of big ups and downs for the official nominee for the GOP: A hotly anticipated hearing before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon leaned in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s favor, at least for now, while a motion to dismiss charges in Trump’s indictment premised on his belief that he can simply declare classified documents personal under the Presidential Records Act has yet to be resolved.

Law&Crime takes a look at those developments and several others in Trump’s cases in Florida, Georgia, Washington, D.C., and New York.



Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg abruptly announced Thursday that he was willing to adjourn the hush money and election interference trial for 30 days, insisting that while his team is ready with discovery and has been for nearly a year, Trump and his attorneys are not.

Trump filed a motion to adjourn Monday but by Friday, even after Bragg agreed to give him what he wanted in part, lawyers for the former president balked, saying a 30-day adjournment would bump right into the Passover schedule. 

“The Court cannot schedule the trial in a timeframe that would prevent or inhibit the ability of observant Jews to participate as jurors,” the attorneys told New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan. 

They also said it could be an issue since the classified documents trial in Florida gets underway May 20.

But New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said in a letter Friday that there were “significant questions” remaining in the discovery review. The judge adjourned the trial for 30 days from the date of the letter, and said that a hearing will be set for March 25 — the date the trial was expected to start.

Whatever defense Trump may offer at this criminal trial is somewhat murky, though to be sure he wants to grill fixer Michael Cohen and executives from AMI, publisher of the National Enquirer. Though he was ordered to provide notice on whether he intended to invoke an advice of counsel defense early this week — and before Bragg agreed to temporarily adjourn — Trump’s lawyers filed notice to the court saying actually, they only intend on eliciting witness testimony at trial that will show Trump lacked the “requisite intent.”


New York State Attorney General Letitia James urged a judge to ignore Trump’s pleas that he can’t come up with the funds to pay the $464 million civil fraud fine imposed on him just weeks ago. He has until March 25 to post no less than 110% of the bond.

Meanwhile, as he prepares to appeal the verdict, a judge approved a bond of $91.63 million to cover the defamation award he owes E. Jean Carroll.

Despite his scrambling to find millions to pay her, Trump seems ready to go into the defamatory breach once more: he hasn’t been able to stop calling her a liar.



After trying to get the classified documents case thrown out with just a moment to spare before a critical hearing, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ultimately refused Trump’s attempt to dismiss the first 32 counts in his superseding indictment after he failed to convince her the charges were “constitutionally vague” under the Espionage Act.

Cannon had blocked off a full day to weigh all parties’ requests and debate the merits of Trump’s “Q clearance.”

It was a productive week in Palm Beach all things considered: Trump had originally tried to delay the marathon hearing altogether for two weeks as he pointed to the separate pressures he faced in New York before Bragg. Special counsel Jack Smith vehemently opposed the request as “unreasonable.”

OF NOTE: A government witness and Mar-a-Lago staffer previously known only as “Trump Employee 5” revealed his identity publicly this week, citing concerns Cannon would end up outing witnesses at trial, anyway.




Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee partially granted a motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the racketeering and election subversion case on Friday. Now either she or special prosecutor Nathan Wade must go.

That decision came on the heels of another important one this week: McAfee dismissed six counts in the criminal case because prosecutors didn’t provide enough information. He also threw the defense a lifeline if they choose to appeal, suggesting it was possible Willis and Wade lied under oath.

OF NOTE: Willis was sued this week by the conservative group Judicial Watch, which has accused her of refusing to hand over records tied to her correspondence with the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol and special counsel Jack Smith.

Elsewhere in Georgia: pro-Trump defamation attorney Lin Wood was found liable for defamation.



It’s crickets on the election subversion docket this week at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, but Trump did vow he would free every Jan. 6 rioter “wrongfully imprisoned.” As anticipated, he also cinched the GOP’s nomination this week.

On that note, in exactly one month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Fischer v. United States.

The ruling could have far-reaching impact not just on the hundreds of rioters charged with obstruction under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) — it could also help Trump drop a charge in the Washington, D.C., case.

Oral arguments on the immunity question are set further ahead on April 25.

OF NOTE: Former Trump White House trade adviser and self-professed orchestrator of a plan to advance fake elector slates known as the “Green Bay Sweep” — i.e. the “last, best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit” — Peter Navarro must report to prison on March 19 to begin serving a 4-month sentence. An appeals court rejected the 74-year-old’s request to stay free while he appeals his conviction — although on Friday afternoon he asked the Supreme Court to allow him to stay free as he appeals.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated for clarity as to the delay in the New York state criminal trial.

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