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Trump’s hush-money trial: what happened on 22 April at a glance Trump’s hush-money trial today: Merchan to address Trump gag order ahead of David Pecker testimony
(about 20 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:
22 April: what happened at a glance 23 April: what’s happening today
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. Court is scheduled to begin at 9.30am ET, and the jury will return at 11am, with the first witness, David Pecker of the National Enquirer, expected to return to the stand after a very brief appearance yesterday.
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. Before Pecker appears in the witness box, Judge Juan Merchan is likely to address whether Trump violated a court-imposed gag order with a series of social media posts about witnesses.
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. Prosecutors have accused Trump of violating the order 10 times since the start of the trial, and last week filed a motion to hold the former president in contempt of court, and to fine him $1,000 per violation.
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. Merchan subjected Trump to a gag order before the trial began, covering prosecutors (but not the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg), witnesses, court employees, jurors and their families. Before the trial, Merchan then extended the gag order to cover his own family and Bragg’s family, after Trump posted about Merchan’s daughter, who worked for a company that helped Democratic candidates with digital campaigns.
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. Trump remains free to criticize Merchan himself, though doing so would be unlikely to win any favors from the judge, who will decide Trump’s sentence should the jury find him guilty.
The defense argued that “there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election it’s called democracy”. Court is scheduled to begin at 9.30am ET, and the jury will return at 11am, with the first witness, David Pecker of the National Enquirer, expected to return to the stand after a very brief appearance yesterday.
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”. Before Pecker appears in the witness box, Judge Juan Merchan is likely to address whether Trump violated a court-imposed gag order with a series of social media posts about witnesses.
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. Prosecutors have accused Trump of violating the order 10 times since the start of the trial, and last week filed a motion to hold the former president in contempt of court, and to fine him $1,000 per violation.
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. Merchan subjected Trump to a gag order before the trial began, covering prosecutors (but not the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg), witnesses, court employees, jurors and their families. Before the trial, Merchan then extended the gag order to cover his own family and Bragg’s family, after Trump posted about Merchan’s daughter, who worked for a company that helped Democratic candidates with digital campaigns.
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. Trump remains free to criticize Merchan himself, though doing so would be unlikely to win any favors from the judge, who will decide Trump’s sentence should the jury find him guilty.
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
20 April: in its opening statement, prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels.
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?
20 April: in its opening statement, prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels.
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?