Trump hush money case makes history as the first criminal trial of a former president

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donald trump He will make history when he arrives in lower Manhattan on Monday morning as the first former president to stand trial on criminal charges.

in spite of, Last minute onslaught To derail the trial, jury selection is scheduled to begin and continue until a panel of 12 New Yorkers and alternates are seated, a process that could take at least a week.

The landmark trial focuses on a potential sex scandal cover-up that took place days before the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors allege that President Trump falsified his business records to hide reimbursements for hush money paid to influence the outcome of the election. President Trump has maintained his innocence and denied his affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The case is a big test for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), as it could be the only of President Trump’s four criminal cases to go to a jury before Election Day. right. Trump will be in court instead of campaigning, and the potential Republican presidential nominee is expected to work four days a week for the next two months.

The former president has used court appearances to rally supporters to his campaign, but despite the showmanship, the stakes are high for Trump. Trump has been charged with 34 felony counts of first-degree falsification of business records.If convicted, Judge Juan Melchan, a serious judge. supervise the trial, Trump could be sentenced to probation or up to 18 months to four years in state prison on each count. The president does not have the power to pardon national crimes.

The trial will feature witnesses from Trump’s inner circle pitting them against the former president. Among them is Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and ex-fixer, who has pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance charges. His longtime friend, David Pecker, former CEO of the company that published the National Enquirer, executed a “catch-and-kill” deal. and campaign friend Hope Hicks.

Jurors were also convened in the Oval Office, where prosecutors said they signed a cover-up that involved falsifying business records, including invoices, bookkeeping, and checks, to reimburse Cohen for bogus legal services. claims. And at least one audio recording purportedly showing Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen discussing a capture-and-kill arrangement is likely to be published.

Despite the sordid nature of the allegations, much testimony is likely to focus on routine back-office record-keeping. Prosecutors said they may call 18 witnesses to submit financial documents to the case if the two sides cannot agree on their authenticity.

Prosecutors need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump falsified business records to commit or conceal another crime, but they do not need to prove that Trump committed that crime. do not have. The prosecution’s theory is that the second crime could be violating federal and state election laws or state tax laws in how Cohen’s redemptions were handled.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have kept their defense close to home, but in court filings they attacked the credibility of Mr. Daniels and Mr. Cohen, casting them as liars motivated by grudges and money. It shows the plan to draw.

His legal team is led by former federal prosecutors from New York, Todd Blanche and Emile Bove, and veteran criminal defense attorney Susan Necheres, who has extensive experience in New York and before Mr. Marchand. Mr. Necheres represents President Trump’s business. Tax evasion trial in 2022. The company was found guilty.

Outside lawyers closely monitoring the case argue that Trump’s hush money payments are legal and likely keep him from repayment plans and bookkeeping handled by trusted employees. ing. They could also argue that the payments were made to avoid embarrassment for Trump’s family, not to influence the election.

Trump’s lawyers said they plan to call at least two witnesses in the case. Their names are former Federal Election Commission Commissioner Bradley Smith and Trump Organization Chief Legal Officer Alan Garten. Marchan limited Smith’s testimony to explaining the role and function of the FEC and defining certain terms, such as campaign contributions, but blocked him from testifying about whether any laws were violated in the case. .

Trump may also testify in his own defense. He regrets not taking the stand in the previous civil trial and has testified in the last two civil trials, but the stakes are higher in a criminal case.

doorman, model, porn star

The case dates back to the final days of the 2016 presidential election, when Stormy Daniels was about to go public with allegations that she had a sexual relationship with Trump at a Lake Tahoe golf tournament in 2006. The recently released Access Hollywood tape of President Trump speaking graphically on a hot microphone about his propensity to molest women caused panic in the Trump campaign as it sought to limit its influence on female voters, prosecutors claim. ing.

The indictment alleges that Trump’s allies took the lead in paying hush money to prevent Daniels from speaking.

This was the third “catch-and-kill” deal since the high-profile meeting between Trump, Cohen and Pecker at Trump Tower in August 2015. At the meeting, which took place a month after Trump announced his candidacy, Pecker agreed to serve as the campaign’s “eyes and ears” and keep an eye on negative stories, according to the indictment.

In 2015, American Media, which published the National Enquirer at the time, paid a doorman to take down a false story, and the following year, the publisher announced that Trump, a former Playboy playmate, was married to Trump. He paid money to Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with the president. , she was paid $150,000 for her silence and provided her with two magazine cover stories.

Two months later, on October 7, the Access Hollywood tape was released. On October 27, 2016, Cohen sent money to Daniels, and 12 days later, Trump won the election.

Prosecutors allege that Trump agreed to pay compensation to Cohen, which was worked out in detail with Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former longtime chief financial officer. As part of the alleged scheme, the Trump Organization paid Mr. Cohen $420,000 in repayments for payments, some political activities, taxes and bonuses. Prosecutors said the Trump Organization indicated on checks and ledgers to Mr. Cohen that the payments were for legal fees under an offeror’s contract.

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