(NEW YORK) — A federal judge in New York on Tuesday set a hearing next month to consider whether former President Donald Trump should be allowed to move his criminal case from State Supreme Court in Manhattan to federal court.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein set the hearing for June 27.
“In the meantime, proceedings may continue in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County,” Hellerstein’s order said.
That means Trump and the Manhattan district attorney’s office must, as ordered at a hearing last week, work together to pick a trial date for some time in February or March 2024.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records related to a hush payment to adult film actress Story Daniels in the closing weeks of the 2016 campaign.
Trump’s attorneys sought to move the case to federal court “because the case involves important federal questions since the indictment charges President Trump for conduct committed while he was president of the United States that was within the ‘color of his office’ and the charges involve alleged federal and state election law violations that have a federal preemption defense.”
The allegations against Trump are based on reimbursement checks written to Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, who made the payment to Daniels. The reimbursements were logged as legal expenses when in fact the payment was made for campaign purposes, prosecutors said.
The charges of falsifying business records were elevated to felonies because prosecutors alleged the true nature of the reimbursements to Cohen were falsified to conceal tax or election crimes.
“There has never been a prosecution under New York State law based on an alleged violation of election law pertaining to a federal election. And there are serious federal preemption issues with such a prosecution,” defense attorney Susan Necheles wrote in her motion on Tuesday.
The district attorney’s office has until June 15 to respond to Trump’s motion.
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