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Subject judge sets Stormy Daniels trial for March 25, 2024 - in the middle of the GOP primaries and months before the presidential election
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Original Message Donald Trump threw his hands in the air in fury during a virtual appearance in a Manhattan court on Tuesday as a judge scheduled the Stormy Daniels 'hush money' criminal trial for March 25, 2024.

It means the former president will be in a Manhattan courtroom for weeks in the middle of the Republican primaries and just months before the presidential election.

The court day lies just weeks after the 'Super Tuesday' primaries set for March 5, and days after Florida's March 19 contest that will pit Trump against Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Trump, 76, scowled into the camera during a Zoom appearance as Judge Juan Merchan told him to cancel all commitments during the trial and put a protective order in place banning him from sharing evidence in public.

He made the appearance as it was revealed his main rival in the GOP race, DeSantis, would formally announce he is running for President in a Twitter Spaces on Wednesday night.

A visibly-irritated Trump, wearing a blue suit against a backdrop of American flags at his Mar-a-Lago estate, turned to his lawyer during the appearance

'President Trump is running for President of the United States and is the leading contender,' his attorney Todd Blanche told the judge. 'He is very much concerned that his 1st Amendment rights are being violated.'

The charges are related to a $30,000 payoff to a doorman trying to sell information about a child that Trump allegedly fathered out of wedlock; $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, and a $130,000 payment to Daniels.

Trump had pleaded not guilty last month to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records at his family company, the Trump Organization.

[link to www.dailymail.co.uk (secure)]

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