NEW: Trump Criminal Trial Update

( – Donald Trump is likely to face his first criminal trial this election year in New York soon. He’ll have to manage his time between the courtroom and the campaign trail as he aims for the GOP nomination.

Judge Juan Merchan in Manhattan is about to decide on key motions before the trial, including one to dismiss the case. But it’s expected that the trial will start on March 25. Trump is accused of making false business records to hide payments to Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, and a doorman who said Trump had a child outside of marriage. He faces 34 felony counts but denies them, calling it a Democratic witch hunt.

This New York trial might be less damaging for Trump compared to other legal challenges. The charges are about payments made before the 2016 election, which might not seem as serious to the public as his attempts to change the 2020 election results. David Schulz, a professor, thinks the public has moved on from these allegations. He says no jail time means Trump can still campaign and claim he’s being targeted by Democrats.

Robert Sanders, a lecturer, notes that while a New York conviction wouldn’t look good, it’s not as big as the election cases. Yet, it’s still something voters might think about.

The case is also salacious, involving Trump’s alleged affair with Daniels. But this might not change much for voters who have already made up their minds about Trump.

The trial is happening first because another trial, accusing Trump of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election, is waiting on a Supreme Court decision about his immunity claims.

Other legal issues for Trump include a case about keeping government records at Mar-a-Lago and a racketeering case in Atlanta. Trump chose to attend the New York hearing over a hearing in Georgia.

In Atlanta there’s a question about whether District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified from Trump’s case because of a personal relationship with a special prosecutor Nathan Wade. An evidentiary hearing on this will take two days.