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Trump trial: Opening statements began on Monday

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Trump trial opening statements (PHOTO: The Associated Press)
  • Trump trial opening statements on Monday.
  • He’s accused of making hush money payments to a porn star.
  • He paid her $130,000 before the 2016 election.

Former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York entered the opening statement phase on Monday.

The former president is accused of falsifying documents to buy the silence of a porn actress to protect his 2016 White House campaign.

According to the prosecution, 77-year-old Trump was involved in a plan with his then-lawyer Michael Cohen and others to influence the 2016 election by suppressing negative information.

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Trump trial opening statements

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This plan included an alleged payment of $130,000 to silence former porn actress Stormy Daniels.

The goal was to prevent her from revealing her affair with Trump that occurred while his wife, Melania, was pregnant.

The trial got underway Monday, making Trump the first former U.S. president to face a criminal trial.

It is worth noting that Trump is seeking reelection in November.

12 jurors and 6 alternates were sworn in

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PHOTO: The Associated Press

The jury selection process concluded on Friday after appointing six alternate jurors.

These were chosen from a total of 22 candidates and join the 12 main jurors — seven men and  five women —  already selected.

Among the members of the jury, is a Spanish woman who was approved by both the defense and the prosecution.

However, multiple potential jurors were excused after claiming they had anxiety or «doubts» about serving on the jury.

Will Trump take the stand?

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Trump trial opening statements / PHOTO: The Associated Press

On Friday, a hearing was also held where prosecutors make an unexpected announcement.

They said that if Trump takes the stand in his criminal trial, they will question him about his other legal battles.

These battles include two high-profile civil suits for which he was found guilty in New York.

They also requested permission from Judge Merchán to question the former president about alleged sexual assaults committed against other women, a matter on which the judge may rule on this Monday.

Trump pleads not guilty

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PHOTO: The Associated Press

Trump appeared before the judge at the Manhattan courthouse on April 4, 2023, heard the charges against him, and pleaded not guilty.

He faces 34 serious charges related to his attempt to buy Stormy Daniels’ silence.

In 2016, the former porn actress sought to sell her story about her affair with Trump a decade earlier.

Each of the crimes could carry a prison sentence of up to four years for Trump.

Trump is expected to put up a strong defense

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PHOTO: The Associated Press

The defense is expected to fiercely attack the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses, particularly Michael Cohen.

Cohen, then Trump’s right-hand man, made the payment to Daniels and pleaded guilty in 2018 to violating campaign finance and other federal laws.

Last week, Merchán expressed his concerns about the safety of the jury and said he would prohibit journalists from revealing any information about the current and past work histories of its members.

They are also prohibited from revealing any physical characteristics or other identifying information.

The first of four criminal trials

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PHOTO: The Associated Press

This is the first of four criminal cases Trump faces. It is also the most personally sharp and may be the only one to take place before the next presidential election in November.

In addition to the New York trial, Trump will also have to appear in court in Georgia and Washington DC.

This is for his alleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

He will also be tried in Florida, for allegedly illegally removing and keeping classified documents in his Mar-a-Lago mansion that he took from the White House after leaving office, according to EFE.

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