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New York judge has scheduled an April 15 trial date in former President Donald Trump’s hush money case.

The judge earlier had scolded the former president’s lawyers as he weighed when to reschedule the trial after a last-minute document dump caused a postponement of the original date.

The hush money case, filed last year by prosecutors in Manhattan, has taken on added importance given that it’s the only one of the prosecutions against Trump that appears likely for trial in the coming months.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges that he falsified business records. Manhattan prosecutors say Trump did it as part of an effort to protect his 2016 campaign by burying what he says were false stories of extramarital sex.

Trump’s lawyers say the payments to Cohen were legitimate legal expenses, not cover-up checks.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges, including campaign finance violations related to the Daniels payoff.

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    Merchan had bristled at what he suggested were baseless defense claims of “prosecutorial misconduct,” appearing unpersuaded by Trump team arguments that prosecutors had until recently concealed tens of thousands of pages of records from a previous federal investigation.

    Prosecutors said only a handful of those newly records was relevant to the case, while defense lawyers contended that thousands of pages are potentially important and require a painstaking review.

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee arrived in court for a hearing scheduled in place of the long-planned start of jury selection in the first of his four criminal cases to go to trial.

    The case centers on allegations that Trump falsely logged $130,000 in payments as legal fees in his company’s books “to disguise his and others’ criminal conduct,” as Bragg’s deputies put it in a court document.

    Rather, they say, Cohen was just recouping money he’d paid porn actor Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf, so she wouldn’t publicize her claim of a sexual encounter with him years earlier.

    They acknowledged in a court filing that there was some relevant new material, including 172 pages of notes recording Cohen’s meetings with the office of former special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Russia’s 2016 election interference.

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