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The criminal hush money trial against Trump is about to begin. Here’s what to expect.



The criminal hush money trial against Trump is about to begin.  Here's what to expect.

Jury selection begins Monday in the first of former President Donald Trump’s four ongoing criminal trials, launching the search for a panel of New Yorkers to decide whether Trump’s handling of a hush-money payment to cover up an alleged affair was a constituted a crime.

It will be an extraordinary moment in US history, the first time a former president faces a criminal trial and possible prison time.

In all likelihood it will also be a circus.

Unlike his recent civil trials, Trump must be present in court as New York prosecutors argue their case. That means he will have to listen to expected testimony from Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, and Stormy Daniels, a porn star who claims she had an affair with Trump during his time on “The Apprentice.”

He has not proven to be a man who can sit quietly and listen. Judge Juan Merchan has already arrested him a gag order preventing him from launching public attacks on people involved in the trial, although Trump is still expected to hold his own press conferences as the trial progresses.

Ultimately, the fate of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will rest in the hands of a group of ordinary residents of his hometown – a city where huge numbers of people took to the streets. in celebration when he was not re-elected for a second term.

Trump’s signature legal tactic – to delay the proceedings as long as possible – failed here. While his teams of lawyers have managed to delay his federal criminal trials in Florida and Washington DC, along with the state-level trial in Georgia, judges in New York have rejected his many different requests to push back the hush money lawsuit.

As a result, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could ultimately be the only prosecutor to bring Trump to trial before the 2024 presidential election.

Bragg laid out his reason for going after the former president when he announced the news 34 felony charges against him last year.

“This is the business capital of the world,” Bragg said at a news conference. according to The New York Times. “We regularly deal with cases involving false business statements. The foundation – in fact the basis for business integrity and a well-functioning business marketplace – is truthful and accurate record keeping. That is the charge filed here, falsifying corporate records in New York State.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denies having affairs.

In this case, the hush money itself is not at issue. This also applies to the alleged cases, which are of course not illegal.

The problem lies in the way the situation with Daniels was handled financially.

Prosecutors will argue that Trump illegally covered up the payment made on his behalf to Daniels. (In the case, prosecutors also pointed to two other people who paid to remain silent: former model Karen McDougal, who allegedly had an affair with Trump, and a former Trump Tower doorman, who claimed that Trump allegedly had an extramarital had fathered a child. However, the accusations themselves only relate to how the Daniels payment was settled.)

In 2016, it was far from clear whether Trump’s supporters would support him if he were publicly accused of being a serial cheater. It turned out that many would support him even in the face of repeated accusations of sexual assault.

That summer, McDougal ultimately received $150,000 from the publisher of the National Enquirer, a tabloid whose leadership was so supportive of Trump that they offered to keep an eye out for any negative stories about him that threatened to surface. In a practice known as “catch and kill,” the publisher, American Media Inc., bought McDougal’s story so they could suppress it. AMI also arranged to pay the doorman $30,000 for his story, although the publisher ultimately concluded his version of events was untrue, court documents show.

Then the Washington Post published What would become known as the “Access Hollywood” tape in early October 2016, just a month before the election, dealt a major blow to Trump’s already unscrupulous image. In 2005, he was recorded making mean comments about women, saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do that.” You can do anything. … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Some of his fellow Republicans called on him to resign. There were to ask about reprinting ballots to remove Trump from the ticket.

Prosecutors say this prompted Trump to lock up Daniels’ story. Cohen paid Daniels a total of $130,000 through a shell company and was later repaid by Trump in a series of installments.

Trump’s reimbursement checks were labeled “for legal services rendered” — illegally concealing their true purpose, according to prosecutors.

Normally, falsifying company records is only a misdemeanor level crime. But it can become a low-level crime if a prosecutor proves the forgery was committed in furtherance of another crime. That’s what Bragg will try to do.

As stated in court documents: “From August 2015 to December 2017, Defendant, together with others, orchestrated a scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election by identifying and purchasing negative information about him in order to suppress its publication and benefit Defendant’s electoral prospects.”

Cohen pleaded guilty to the scheme in 2018 and served his three-year prison sentence on charges of tax evasion and campaign finance violations.

It is difficult to say whether Bragg will be successful with Trump. Future jurors will be asked 42 questions designed to evaluate their media diet — one section asks whether they read JS — along with their opinions of the former president.

Critics have argued that the allegations at issue are mundane and frivolous, even reinforcing Trump’s argument that he is being politically persecuted by Democrats. The other criminal cases, which center on Trump’s threats to democracy and national security, certainly appear to have much more serious consequences for the American public. Bragg even offered to delay his case so the federal cases could be tried first, but ultimately went ahead when it became apparent that federal judges would need time to resolve Trump’s various legal challenges.

During his campaign, Trump discussed his various legal entanglements with a curious comparison.

“Remember this: I’ve been indicted more times than Alphonse Capone, Scarface,” Trump said said on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February – one of several times he compares himself to the infamous mob boss.

The parallels can be confirmed in several ways. Capone was never convicted of the things that made him headlines – smuggling, gambling, murder – but rather of tax evasion.