Ex-President: First criminal trial against Trump started

Ex-President: First criminal trial against Trump started

For the first time in US history, a criminal trial begins against an ex-president. Donald Trump could even face prison if convicted in the highly anticipated hush money trial.

For the first time in the history of the United States, a criminal trial has begun against a former US president. The responsible court opened the trial against Donald Trump in connection with hush money payments to a porn actress on Monday in New York. The public prosecutor’s office accuses Trump of falsifying business documents. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

The agenda included jury selection, which could take several days. First, however, applications from Trump’s legal team were discussed in the austere, wood-paneled courtroom in southern Manhattan. Among other things, Judge Juan Merchan rejected a request from Trump’s lawyers that he should withdraw from the trial.

Trump sat in the dock in a dark blue suit and red tie between his defense lawyers, with whom he repeatedly consulted in whispers. Otherwise, he followed the proceedings largely expressionlessly – alternately leaning back with his eyes almost closed, leaning on the table or with his arms folded across his chest. The ex-president did not initially comment in court, but nodded and murmured in agreement as Judge Merchan read him his rights and responsibilities during the trial.

Lawyer: Trump wants to “be there for everything”

According to the court, the process could take up to eight weeks. Trump wanted to “be there for everything,” said his lawyer Todd Blanche at the start. If convicted, the 77-year-old could face a prison sentence of several years, which could also be suspended. The lawyers of the Republican, who wants to be re-elected US President in November, had until recently tried to avert, postpone or delay the proceedings. Trump spoke out shortly before the trial opened and said: “This is an attack on America, nothing like it has ever happened before.”

Hundreds of journalists with dozens of broadcast vans had gathered in front of the court in the early hours of the morning, as well as a few Trump supporters and counter-demonstrators. Trump also used the court date to ask his supporters for financial support. “I am now in court,” said a statement from Trump’s campaign team. “On this dark day I need your support.”

The background to the case is that Trump had $130,000 in hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016, shortly before his election as president. She had claimed to have had sex with him. Trump denies an affair, but does not deny that money was flowed. Non-disclosure agreements between two parties are not inherently illegal. However, Trump is accused of illegally recording the payments, trying to conceal them illegally and thereby trying to cover up other violations of the law.

Three more criminal trials against Trump

Three more criminal trials against Trump are currently being prepared in the USA, including for attempted election fraud and taking secret government documents. There are also numerous civil lawsuits. The ex-president and his legal team are trying to block the proceedings by all means, and have already been partially successful in doing so.

The hush money trial involves less serious allegations than the other cases. According to experts, however, it is the process that could possibly be completed first. Trump denies all allegations against him and sees himself as a victim of a politically motivated justice system.

Information about the procedure

Source: Stern

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