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Everything to know about Trump’s NYC hush money trial

The hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election will be in the spotlight again as Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial begins this week.

The trial in Manhattan Supreme Court begins Monday with jury selection, marking the first-ever criminal trial against a U.S. president.

President Trump, 77, has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal payoffs.

He also denies having sex with Daniels.

The 2024 Republican presidential candidate said the lawsuit brought by Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose district was defeated by landslides in 2016 and 2020, is a politically motivated revenge plot. claims.

But 12 Manhattan residents will decide whether he violated New York state law.

Here’s what you need to know:

What crime is Mr. Trump being charged with?

In New York, it’s perfectly legal for a private citizen to pay someone to cover up a sex scandal.

However, managers are not allowed to lie on company records. Throughout 2017, President Trump allegedly tried to cover his tracks.

Trump was charged with so-called “falsifying business records” for allegedly lying about repaying Michael Cohen for “legal services” when he actually sent cash to Daniels. There is.

The hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election will be in the spotlight again as Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial begins this week. AP

How serious is “falsification of business records”?

President Trump once joked that his supporters are so loyal that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and still not lose any voters.”

These criminal charges are not at that level, nor are they at the level of the sexual assault for which another jury in Manhattan found Mr. Trump responsible in a civil suit.

But they are still serious.

The trial in Manhattan Supreme Court will begin with jury selection on April 15, marking the first criminal trial ever against a U.S. president. Getty Images for Cambridge Union

It is a felony to falsify business records to conceal or commit another crime.

Each charge of first-degree falsifying business records carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison, but it is unclear whether prosecutors will seek to send Trump to prison if he is convicted.

Bragg said the $130,000 hush-money payment dwarfs the $2,700 cap on individual campaign contributions and is a violation of local election laws that make it a crime to conspire to illegally promote a candidate. alleged that it was in violation.

President Trump, 77, has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal payoffs. Getty Images

Can Mr. Trump still run for president even if he is convicted?

Legal experts say that even if Trump is convicted, he could still run for president and win.

But a guilty verdict will pose new challenges for the self-proclaimed branding guru, who has made his mark on buildings, golf courses and even sneakers during his decades of celebrity.

Trump has so far been able to rally supporters even as he paints himself as the victim of a political “witch hunt” and faces 88 criminal charges in four states.

But it’s unclear what voters will think of Trump if he becomes a convicted felon.

He also denies having sex with Daniels. Getty Images

What will Trump’s defense be like?

President Trump has the right to have his lawyers aggressively question prosecution witnesses, which are expected to include both Mr. Daniels and Mr. Cohen, and testify in his own defense if he wishes.

He will likely take a two-pronged approach. That means he will be pitching himself to voters with several arguments intended to attack the legal merits of the case and other criticisms aimed at the court of public opinion.

President Trump has already said that he will not receive a fair trial in Democratic-leaning Manhattan, that the felonies he is being charged with “are not even crimes,” and that Judge Juan Melchán will not oversee the case because he “hates” President Trump. They argue that it shouldn’t be done.

In court, lawyers are likely to argue that Trump had no “intention” to hide the payments.

It also downplayed Cohen’s testimony about then-President Trump’s state of mind, in which he admitted to jurors that he lied to a federal judge while pleading guilty to campaign finance violations in 2018. I’m asking you to.

The 2024 Republican presidential candidate said the lawsuit brought by Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose district was defeated by landslides in 2016 and 2020, is a politically motivated revenge plot. claims. Reuters

Who will testify?

Neither side is required to submit a list of witnesses before the trial begins, but we are sure to hear from Mr. Cohen and his former boss at the National Inquirer, David Pecker. Pecker allegedly conspired to kill negative stories about Trump before the 2016 election, according to court documents.

Daniels also said on social media that she would also take a stand.

“A major network invested a lot of money to make a documentary about me and I was able to testify against a small TV station!” He mentioned the insulting nickname, which he said referred to the size of Trump’s penis.

Another possible witness is former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougall, who was allegedly paid $150,000 to keep quiet about a months-long affair.

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks may also take the stand.

How long will the trial last, and will President Trump have to stay by his side?

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks and will be closed on Wednesdays.

Like all defendants in criminal cases, Mr. Trump must sit at the defense table after the first pool of jurors is selected and until the jury returns its verdict.

That means Mr. Trump will meet with donors at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, play an impromptu round at a golf club in New Jersey and campaign in battleground states that polls show. This means that they will not be able to participate in the event. The election race against President Biden is extremely intense.

“I’m going to have to sit here for months in court,” Trump said angrily in the hallway after a recent court appearance.

“I think that’s strange. It’s sneaky.”

Will the trial be televised?

Although New York state does not make video of the trial available to the public, the Post will be in the courtroom to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of all the drama.

Are the accusations against Trump unique?

This case is unique in many ways, most notably that a U.S. president has never before been tried for a crime.

However, this charge itself is not new.

Prosecutors said in a November court filing that in the 10 years leading up to Trump’s indictment, Manhattan prosecutors had filed 437 cases charging individuals and companies with falsifying business records.

“In other words, for the past 10 consecutive years, our office has charged defendants with first-degree business record falsification an average of just under once a week,” prosecutors said.

Most of those incidents were not covered by the media. But Mr. Bragg told reporters after Mr. Trump’s arraignment last March that charges of falsifying corporate records are “fundamental to our white-collar work.”

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