1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Trump gets financial lifeline in 1 case, start date in other

March 25, 2024

Two New York legal cases against Donald Trump developed on Monday. The GOP frontrunner will likely face trial for alleged hush-money payments before the election, but got a financial lifeline in his fraud conviction.

Donald Trump and his team arrive at the Manhattan Criminal Court for a pre-trial hearing in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case
Two of the cases against Donald Trump progressed in court in New York on MondayImage: Selcuk Acar/Anadolu/picture alliance

Businessman-politician Donald J. Trump returned to New York on Monday to appear before judges overseeing two of his four ongoing legal trials.

Monday's cases pertained to the start of a jury trial for campaign finance violations in the so-called Stormy Daniels hush-money case, and a looming deadline to pay a massive $457 million (€422 million) financial penalty in a New York civil business fraud case.

Trump and his lawyers were seeking a further delay in the start of the Daniels case, which has already been pushed back until April due to the arrival of troves of federal documents just prior to the start of the trial originally set to start on Monday.

In the second case, Trump was informed of the state of New York's stance on the collection of the fraud fine. He was told the judgement would be paused as his legal team had requested, if he paid a smaller sum of $175 million within 10 days.

Civil fraud case pertains to 'falsely' inflated net worth and asset value

Writing on his Truth Social platform, Trump said he would abide by the New York appeals court decision and post his bond.

This would prevent New York Attorney General Letitia James from potentially seizing assets in a case in which he was convicted of defrauding bankers and insurers about the value of Trump properties, grossly inflating or deflating their size and value to his advantage for decades. 

AG James said Monday's judgement did not change the conviction or the ultimate penalty facing the defendant: "Donald Trump is still facing accountability for his staggering fraud. The court already found he engaged in years of fraud to falsely inflate his net worth and unjustly enrich himself, his family and his organization."

Trump has accused James and Judge Arthur Engoron, who convicted him of fraud and ordered the original $355 million penalty (plus daily interest), of using the case to sabotage his current campaign as the Republican party's 2024 presidential candidate.  

On Truth Social, Trump once again publicly attacked Engoron, writing that the appellate court decision "shows how ridiculous and outrageous" his verdict was.  

Protestors with signs stand outside New York County Criminal Court before the arrival of former U.S. President Donald Trump who is expect to attend matters related to his 'hush money' criminal case, New York, NY, March 25, 2024.
A small group of protesters also gathered outside the court on MondayImage: Anthony Behar/Sipa/picture alliance

Stormy Daniels case date set for April 15

"This is a witch hunt. This is a hoax," Trump told reporters outside the courtroom at Manhattan Criminal Court for a hearing on the start of the hush-money case.

Trump's legal team has accused the prosecution of deliberately withholding evidence, seeking delays and even a dismissal of the trial. On Monday, presiding Justice Juan Merchan began the hearing by reading the motion submitted by the Trump legal team.

The prosecution flatly denied the allegation, with prosecutor Matthew Colangelo telling Justice Merchan, "We are not actively suppressing or suppressing in any way discoverable or otherwise impeachable materials." 

Justice Merchan was not convinced by the defendant's arguments and ordered the trial to begin on April 15, meaning that barring further delays, Trump will become the first former US president ever to stand trial in a criminal court.

What is the Stormy Daniels case about?

At issue in the case is whether Trump violated federal campaign finance laws by ordering his lawyer to pay porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about a sexual encounter, as well as falsifying account ledgers to hide the payment.

Though the encounter was said to have happened a decade prior, Trump was vying for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination at the time the payment was made. 

Trump's lawyers argue the payment was not made for the benefit of his political campaign, but rather to spare his family embarrassment — his wife Melania was pregnant with their son Barron at the time the affair took place.

Trump has denied both the affair and the payment but in 2018, his then lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance violations for making the payment on Trump's behalf. Cohen was sent to prison for his role in the scheme.

Trump turned against his former "fixer" when Cohen decided to testify against his former boss under oath. Trump's legal team has routinely characterized Cohen as untrustworthy. This is what prompted the request for more documents — which the defense argued could corroborate their questioning of Cohen's credibility.  

Though Justice Merchan granted a 30-day delay on March 15, the jury trial will now get underway on April 15. Thus, Trump will likely have been cleared or convicted of the charges before the November 5, 2024 presidential election. 

Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury

js/msh (AP, Reuters)