Friday Briefing: Trump to Go on Trial

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A New York judge rejected Donald Trump’s bid for a dismissal of the criminal charges against him stemming from a hush-money payment to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, clearing the way for his prosecution, the first of a former U.S. president.

The judge’s decision to set a March 25 trial date was a forceful rejection of Trump’s battle-tested legal strategy of running out the clock. The criminal case will be Trump’s first to go to trial and might not be the last: He faces 91 felony counts across four criminal indictments as he seeks to secure the Republican presidential nomination for November’s general election.

Although Trump might portray the Manhattan case as his most trivial and outdated, it presents a threat to his legal strategy. While Trump could seek to shut down the federal cases against him in Washington, D.C., and Florida should he win in November, the Manhattan case is exempt from federal intervention. Trump would not be able to pardon himself, or otherwise deploy the presidency as a legal shield.

What’s next: The trial date in Manhattan leaves the door open for Trump’s federal trial on charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election to take place in the late spring or early summer. That case, filed in Washington, is in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Georgia: There was also a hearing in this case, in which Trump is accused of seeking to subvert the 2020 election results in the state, concerning a romantic relationship between the two lead prosecutors.

Civil fraud: A judge is weighing the New York attorney general’s request that he fine Trump nearly $370 million and effectively oust him from the New York business world. That decision could come today.


Israeli forces have entered the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza. Israel said its troops were searching for Hamas fighters, and possibly the bodies of hostages.

The incursion came two days after Israel ordered displaced people to evacuate the hospital, one of the last ones functioning in the enclave. (Here is a video of the evacuations.) Doctors Without Borders said that shelling had left “an undetermined number of people killed” and called on Israel to halt the operation.

Testimony: Mustafa Abutaha lost a son in the war and fled to the hospital, where he spent weeks speaking to patients and helping out.


Despite projections of growth, Japan slipped into recession at the end of last year. The country fell one notch, as expected, to become the world’s fourth-largest economy, just behind Germany.

Corporate profits are at record highs, the stock market is surging and unemployment rates are low. But consumer spending and business investment are lagging, which accounted for the unexpectedly weak showing.

Britain: Its economy also fell into a recession at the end of last year.

Russia’s government is keeping wounded veterans out of public view to suppress antiwar sentiment. Veterans say that their care is poor and is designed to rush them back to the war. “It was a conveyor belt,” one said, of his crowded ward.

Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts on the “right to disconnect,” a bill that is expected to pass Australia’s House soon. More than 100 of you wrote in — we learned so much from your perspectives. Here are a few thoughts from your fellow readers.

Australia has become one giant nanny state. We have so many rules and regulations governing our daily lives — it is utterly ludicrous! It’s clear that our government (and all parties are the same) think we are incapable of making good decisions for ourselves. I am an employee, not an employer, and even I can see that this “right to disconnect” law will cause issues — uncertainty for sure, and chaos isn’t out of the question either. Why can’t we just let common sense prevail? Do we need a law for everything? — Timothy Hegarty, Melbourne

As a business owner, I support the measure. If I want any of my employees to be available out of hours, that is an issue that needs to be discussed and mutually agreed. Like many employment issues, if it gets to the point of fines and litigation, it’s because it was not handled properly to begin with. — Frank Canas, Sydney

I think it is a great idea! Not only does it afford personal time for the employee, but it also allows that person to regain a sense of self and goodness through bonding with others and recharging one’s mind. It makes the employee, in turn, more productive during workhours. A great movement for the promotion of mental health and business productivity, I say! — Wesley Soguilon, Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines

I don’t think this is practical in today’s world working for large global firms. I wonder if people in white-collar professions still believe in the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. myth. If people want clear, fixed working hours defined, then they limit themselves to roles and jobs that keep them stuck in an endless rut with minimum opportunity to grow and lead. When one is transitioning from middle management to senior management, workhours tend to become client dinners, weekend golfing and the sorts. This is not forced, but it is the way of the world. — Raj Kiran, Sydney

It’s a brilliant idea that will only make workers happier and more productive. Want me to be available outside workhours? Pay me on-call rates. Want me to answer a call, reply to an email or work on anything outside of workhours? Pay me overtime. A job at its most basic is a contract — a set amount of pay in exchange for a set amount of labor. No extra pay? No extra labor. Any employer worth their salt should understand the value of a happy workforce that gets a sufficient amount of rest. — Parizad Aderbehman, Perth, Australia

Cook: Marinate chicken thighs in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and pineapple juice to make Seattle-style teriyaki.

Watch: In “Monolith,” a podcaster investigates a supernatural mystery.

Read: The Book of Love” is a dreamy, fantastical novel.

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