A date has been set for the beginning of former President Donald Trump‘s first criminal trial.

New York Judge Juan Merchan said the trial stemming from Trump’s hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels will begin March 25, which will require Trump to be in court rather than out on the campaign trail.

In the trial, Trump will face 34 felony counts of falsifying business records connected to hush money payments. The prosecution alleges Trump arranged payments to Daniels near the end of the 2016 campaign to keep her quiet about the affair between the two.

According to the indictment Trump falsified payments in the Trump organization’s financial records and never reported the money on campaign finance documents as is required by law.

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Trump has tried multiple times to get the case dismissed calling it a political prosecution, noting that the prosecuting D.A. Alvin Bragg is a Democrat.

In Merchan’s decision to begin the trial, he wrote that the argument of political persecution “strains credulity” and that prosecutors “have demonstrated that the investigation and ensuing prosecution commenced following public reporting of Defendant’s ties to criminal conduct that took place in New York prior to the 2016 presidential election.”

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, argued that the trial itself would interfere with Trump’s ability to campaign.

During the hearing, he said, “We strenuously object to what is happening in this courtroom. The fact that President Trump is going to now spend the next two months working on this trial instead of out on the campaign trail running for president – it should not happen in this country.”

Although Trump did not speak in court, upon exiting, when he talked to the press, he echoed the narrative established by his lawyers, going so far as to call the trial election interference.

“They want to keep me nice and busy so I can’t campaign so hard,” Trump said. “So instead of being in South Carolina and other states campaigning, I’m stuck here in an election interference case. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it in this country.”

Trump is involved in three other criminal cases – two for attempting to overturn the 2020 election and one for retaining classified documents. Prosecutors in all of the cases are attempting to start their trials before the election in November.

Trump was recently ordered to pay $83 million to advise columnist E. Jean Carroll for defaming her.

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