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Trump Issues Three-Sentence Response After Court Hearing

Newsweek 5/24/2023 Aila Slisco
Former U.S. President Donald Trump at a campaign rally on the eve of Election Day at the Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio. © Drew Angerer/Getty Former U.S. President Donald Trump at a campaign rally on the eve of Election Day at the Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio.

Former President Donald Trump is bemoaning the "unfair" nature of his criminal trial set to take place during the 2024 GOP presidential primary season.

Trump appeared in court remotely on Tuesday, when New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan scheduled the trial to begin March 25, 2024—a date when the outcome of the race for the GOP nomination could still be in doubt.

The former president was indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records last month, becoming the first-ever former or sitting U.S. president to face criminal charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Due to the criminal nature of the charges, Trump will be required to participate in the proceedings when the trial begins, regardless of his campaign schedule. Most recent polls indicate that he is the Republican 2024 frontrunner by a wide margin.


In a three-sentence response posted to Truth Social shortly after the hearing on Tuesday, Trump argued that the trial date amounts to "election interference" orchestrated by "radical left Democrats."

"Just had New York County Supreme Court hearing where I believe my First Amendment Rights, 'Freedom of Speech,' have been violated, and they forced upon us a trial date of March 25th, right in the middle of Primary season," Trump wrote.

"Very unfair, but this is exactly what the Radical Left Democrats wanted," he continued. "It's called ELECTION INTERFERENCE, and nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before!!!"

This month, Merchan issued a protective order banning Trump from using evidence from the case to attack witnesses. The justice warned Trump that he could be held in contempt of court if he violates the order.

Merchan noted the narrow scope of the order during Tuesday's hearing, pointing out that the former president remains "free to do just about anything that doesn't violate the specific terms of this protective order."

Attorney Christa Ramey of ACTS Law previously told Newsweek that Merchan "seems to be very concerned about protecting Trump's First Amendment rights and trying not to interfere with his ability to continue to run for president."

Trump has not held back in discussing the coming trial or other legal proceedings against him on social media and during campaign events, frequently claiming that the multitude of investigations and trials are part of a politically motivated "witch hunt."

Depending on the outcome of pending grand jury investigations, the former president may soon be facing additional criminal charges in Georgia and at the federal level. He is also facing multiple civil lawsuits.

Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation and ordered to pay $5 million following the conclusion of a civil suit from former columnist E. Jean Carroll this month.

In a court filing on Monday, Carroll demanded $10 million more for additional alleged "defamatory conduct" by the former president during his controversial post-trial CNN town hall event.

Newsweek has reached out to the office of Trump via email for comment.

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