Manhattan Prosecutors Propose a 30-Day Delay of Trump Trial

Less than two weeks before Donald J. Trump is set to go on trial on criminal charges in Manhattan, the prosecutors who brought the case proposed a delay of up to 30 days, a startling development in the first prosecution of a former American president.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which accused Mr. Trump of covering up a sex scandal during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, said the delay would give Mr. Trump’s lawyers time to review a new batch of records. The office only recently obtained the records from federal prosecutors, who years ago investigated the same hush-money payments at the center of the case.

The potential postponement of the trial, which is scheduled to start with jury selection on March 25, would represent the latest delay on Mr. Trump’s sprawling legal docket, which includes four criminal cases and several civil lawsuits.

The Manhattan case against Mr. Trump, who clinched the Republican presidential nomination for the third time this week, is scheduled to be the first to reach trial, and might be the only one to do so before Election Day.

A criminal case against Mr. Trump in Washington, where he is accused of plotting to overturn the 2020 election results, was initially supposed to go to trial this month, but that is delayed while Mr. Trump appeals to the Supreme Court.

A delay in the Manhattan case would most likely delight the former president, whose central strategy for fighting all of his legal entanglements is to stall as much as possible. If he is elected to a second term in November, the criminal cases against him would grind to a halt until he is out of office.

Still, the judge overseeing the Manhattan case, Juan M. Merchan, will have to approve the delay, and he has made a point of pushing the case forward at every turn. It is unclear when he will rule. And until he does, it is unclear how Mr. Trump’s other cases might be affected.

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