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Trump’s hush-money trial: what’s happening 20 April Trump’s hush-money trial: what happened on 22 April at a glance
(about 3 hours later)
Donald Trump is the first former president to face criminal charges. Here’s what you need to know about the New York caseDonald Trump is the first former president to face criminal charges. Here’s what you need to know about the New York case
Donald Trump is the first former US president to face criminal charges. The 2024 Republican presumptive presidential nominee faces the threat of prison if he is convicted. A jury of seven men and five women will weigh the New York case’s allegation that Trump falsified the financial transaction behind the $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in spring 2023. Trump has pleaded not guilty.Donald Trump is the first former US president to face criminal charges. The 2024 Republican presumptive presidential nominee faces the threat of prison if he is convicted. A jury of seven men and five women will weigh the New York case’s allegation that Trump falsified the financial transaction behind the $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in spring 2023. Trump has pleaded not guilty.
Here’s what you need to know about the case and what happened today:Here’s what you need to know about the case and what happened today:
20 April: what’s happening today? 22 April: what happened at a glance
The court is set to hear opening statements in the trial today. The prosecution will probably try to frame the trial not as a sex scandal, but as another case of Trump’s attempts to interfere with elections. The defense, for their part, will be trying to downplay the events as a sordid but forgivable case of trying to hide an affair, which doesn’t rise to the level of a federal crime. Trump himself may or may not testify. Trump’s criminal trial on charges of falsifying business records began in earnest on Monday, with lawyers for both sides making their opening statements. The court adjourned early to allow an alternate juror to make an emergency dental appointment.
But first, we’re likely to get what’s known as a “Sandoval” decision. Here, the judge rules in advance about what prosecutors are allowed to ask Trump if he takes the stand helping Trump decide whether to do so. (He has said he would, but signs indicate he may not.) The prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with Daniels.
If there’s enough time in the day (court may wrap around 2pm ET today because of Passover), the trial could see its first witness, David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc (AMI), which publishes the National Enquirer. The prosecution called its first witness to the stand: David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer and a man at the heart of Trump’s alleged crimes.
Seven men and five women were chosen in the first week of the trial to sit on the jury in the ex-president’s hush-money trial. The prosecutor Matthew Colangelo told jurors that Trump, his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, and Pecker hatched a plan to keep damaging information about Trump out of the press. Colangelo said this “catch-and-kill” campaign was geared towards helping Trump’s 2016 election campaign. He mentioned an earlier payment to Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with Trump.
The court is set to hear opening statements in the trial today. The prosecution will probably try to frame the trial not as a sex scandal, but as another case of Trump’s attempts to interfere with elections. The defense, for their part, will be trying to downplay the events as a sordid but forgivable case of trying to hide an affair, which doesn’t rise to the level of a federal crime. Trump himself may or may not testify. The prosecution also read out a transcript of Trump’s infamous comments on the set of Access Hollywood, in which Trump bragged he could sexually assault women because he was famous, and noted that the video was released to the public in October 2016, one month before election day.
But first, we’re likely to get what’s known as a “Sandoval” decision. Here, the judge rules in advance about what prosecutors are allowed to ask Trump if he takes the stand helping Trump decide whether to do so. (He has said he would, but signs indicate he may not.) The defense argued that “there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election it’s called democracy”.
If there’s enough time in the day (court may wrap around 2pm ET today because of Passover), the trial could see its first witness, David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc (AMI), which publishes the National Enquirer. Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche said Trump “is innocent” and made an effort to try to humanize Trump, while also repeatedly calling him “President Trump”.
Seven men and five women were chosen in the first week of the trial to sit on the jury in the ex-president’s hush-money trial. Blanche argued that Trump was unaware about the specifics of the hush-money payments because he left it all to Cohen. Trump had nothing to do with the 34 checks other than to sign them, Blanche said.
Trump, who has appeared mostly dour throughout the proceedings and fell asleep briefly at several points last week, looked attentive and focused when Pecker gave his testimony.
Trump’s criminal trial on charges of falsifying business records began in earnest on Monday, with lawyers for both sides making their opening statements. The court adjourned early to allow an alternate juror to make an emergency dental appointment.
The prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with Daniels.
The prosecution called its first witness to the stand: David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer and a man at the heart of Trump’s alleged crimes.
The prosecutor Matthew Colangelo told jurors that Trump, his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, and Pecker hatched a plan to keep damaging information about Trump out of the press. Colangelo said this “catch-and-kill” campaign was geared towards helping Trump’s 2016 election campaign. He mentioned an earlier payment to Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with Trump.
The prosecution also read out a transcript of Trump’s infamous comments on the set of Access Hollywood, in which Trump bragged he could sexually assault women because he was famous, and noted that the video was released to the public in October 2016, one month before election day.
The defense argued that “there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election – it’s called democracy”.
Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche said Trump “is innocent” and made an effort to try to humanize Trump, while also repeatedly calling him “President Trump”.
Blanche argued that Trump was unaware about the specifics of the hush-money payments because he left it all to Cohen. Trump had nothing to do with the 34 checks other than to sign them, Blanche said.
Trump, who has appeared mostly dour throughout the proceedings and fell asleep briefly at several points last week, looked attentive and focused when Pecker gave his testimony.
Key characters and factsKey characters and facts
Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; trial began 15 April 2024.Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; trial began 15 April 2024.
Charges: 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.Charges: 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.
Hush-money case summary: The case involves a hush-money scheme during the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to quash her story about having an extramarital affair with the former president. Trump has denied the affair took place. Prosecutors accuse the former president of illegally reimbursing Cohen for the hush-money payment by falsely classifying the transaction, executed by the Trump Organization, as legal expenses.Hush-money case summary: The case involves a hush-money scheme during the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to quash her story about having an extramarital affair with the former president. Trump has denied the affair took place. Prosecutors accuse the former president of illegally reimbursing Cohen for the hush-money payment by falsely classifying the transaction, executed by the Trump Organization, as legal expenses.
Verdict before election? LikelyVerdict before election? Likely
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Stay up to date on all of Donald Trump’s trials. Guardian staff will send weekly updates each Wednesday – as well as bonus editions on major trial days.Stay up to date on all of Donald Trump’s trials. Guardian staff will send weekly updates each Wednesday – as well as bonus editions on major trial days.
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What has happened in the case so farWhat has happened in the case so far
19 April: The court has finally chosen all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial. With the jury bench now full, the trial is expected to move toward opening statements next week.19 April: The court has finally chosen all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial. With the jury bench now full, the trial is expected to move toward opening statements next week.
18 April: Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors had been removed earlier in the day.18 April: Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors had been removed earlier in the day.
16 April: Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for “gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror” as jury selection continued in the second day of the criminal trial.16 April: Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for “gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror” as jury selection continued in the second day of the criminal trial.
15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday. He is the country’s first president – present or former – to face a criminal trial. Three key takeaways from the first day.15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday. He is the country’s first president – present or former – to face a criminal trial. Three key takeaways from the first day.
14 April: Trump continued to attack the prosecutor, judge and a key witness in the trial against him.14 April: Trump continued to attack the prosecutor, judge and a key witness in the trial against him.
12 April: “The only thing special about this case is the defendant”: Trump’s New York criminal trial begins – but will the public care?12 April: “The only thing special about this case is the defendant”: Trump’s New York criminal trial begins – but will the public care?
19 April: The court has finally chosen all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial. With the jury bench now full, the trial is expected to move toward opening statements next week.19 April: The court has finally chosen all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial. With the jury bench now full, the trial is expected to move toward opening statements next week.
18 April: Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors had been removed earlier in the day.18 April: Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors had been removed earlier in the day.
16 April: Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for “gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror” as jury selection continued in the second day of the criminal trial.16 April: Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for “gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror” as jury selection continued in the second day of the criminal trial.
15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday. He is the country’s first president – present or former – to face a criminal trial. Three key takeaways from the first day.15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday. He is the country’s first president – present or former – to face a criminal trial. Three key takeaways from the first day.
14 April: Trump continued to attack the prosecutor, judge and a key witness in the trial against him.14 April: Trump continued to attack the prosecutor, judge and a key witness in the trial against him.
12 April: “The only thing special about this case is the defendant”: Trump’s New York criminal trial begins – but will the public care?12 April: “The only thing special about this case is the defendant”: Trump’s New York criminal trial begins – but will the public care?