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Conviction ‘could also make me more popular’ Trump says as jury selection set

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Former President Donald Trump said Monday that he doesn’t expect to go to trial over allegations he covered up hush money payments to an adult film actress as legal expenses.

Trump, in a news conference Monday, said he was willing to testify in his New York hush-money case, should it go to trial. The news conference came hours after a New York judge said jury selection in the case would begin on April 15.

However, Trump said he wasn’t convinced.

“I don’t know that you’re going to have the trial,” Trump said from 40 Wall Street. “I don’t know how you can have a trial like this in the middle of an election. … I don’t know that you’re going to have it. I think we’re going to get some court rulings.”

Trump also said he’d be willing to testify at trial if needed. He also said that he wasn’t worried about a conviction when asked if he thought a conviction could hurt his chances of returning to the White House.

“It could also make me more popular because the people know it’s a scam,” he said. “It’s a Biden trial, there is no trial, there’s a Biden trial.”

Trump said President Joe Biden was behind his four pending criminal cases along with an assortment of civil cases that threaten his finances.

Jury selection in Trump’s hush money case in New York could begin April 15, a judge ruled Monday, setting the stage for the first of Trump’s four criminal trials to begin ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Judge Juan Merchan rejected Trump’s request for a longer delay in the case.

One of Trump’s attorneys, Todd Blanche, was critical of the judge’s decision.

“We very much believe that starting this trial in April, or even starting this trial at any point before the election, is completely unfair to President Trump,” he said at the news conference. “It is completely unfair to the American people who are evaluating who they want to be the next president. We are going to continue to fight.”

The trial alleging Trump paid hush money to an adult film actress was set to begin Monday, but a last-minute document dump from prosecutors delayed jury selection, which will now start April 15.

Trump pleaded not guilty in April 2023 to 34 felony counts related to charges he paid off Stormy Daniels through a lawyer before the 2016 presidential election and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president.

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