Donald Trump’s First Criminal Trial Will Start April 15

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Jury selection in the criminal hush money trial of Donald Trump will begin on April 15, a New York judge ruled Monday, in what will be the first criminal prosecution of an ex-President in U.S. history.

Judge Juan M. Merchan delivered the ruling after rejecting arguments from Trump’s lawyers to delay the trial over the late release of more than 100,000 pages of potential evidence that federal prosecutors turned over. “Defendant has been given a reasonable amount of time,” the judge said, as Trump sat in the courtroom.

The Manhattan trial, which concerns charges of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 election, was originally scheduled to begin on Monday but was postponed until mid-April after federal prosecutors handed over the new documents. Merchan ruled that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office “is not at fault for the late production of documents from the U.S. Attorney’s office” and that the case could proceed to trial next month—setting a court date well before voters head to the polls for the November election.

Read More: These Are the Key Dates in Donald Trump’s Legal Cases—and Re-Election Bid

Trump called the case “a witch hunt” and “a hoax” as he walked into the courtroom on Monday, and later said that he plans to appeal the judge’s decision to start the trial in April. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal payments made by his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who is expected to be the key witness against Trump in the trial.

“This case should have been brought three and a half years ago, they decided to wait now just during the election, so that I won’t be able to campaign,” Trump said. “I will be appealing.”

Read More: A Guide to All of Trump’s Indictments—and Where Each Case Stands

The Manhattan trial is one of four criminal cases that Trump faces as he seeks a return to the White House, but it’s the only one with a trial date already set. Some legal experts believe the hush money case could be the most likely of Trump’s four criminal cases to result in a felony conviction before the November election.

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