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Trump hush money trial begins

  • April 16, 2024
  • 2 min read
Trump hush money trial begins

Donald Trump will enter a New York courthouse, becoming the first former US president ever to stand trial in a criminal case. He is accused of falsifying business records to disguise hush-money payments made to former adult film star Stormy Daniels not long before the 2016 election which saw him winning the presidency.

A maximum of four years in jail is possible if convicted but Trump could also avoid jail time and face fines instead. He has pleaded not guilty.

The historic trial takes place as he is running for the Republican nominee for the 2024 election. It is possible for him to become a convicted felon before voters go to the polls in November.  

“It’s unprecedented,” said Alex Keyssar, a professor of history and public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. “There’s been nothing remotely comparable to it.”

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks and centres around a reimbursement that the former colleague made to Michael Cohen. Cohen claims that he was directed to pay Daniels $130,000 (£104,000) in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with the future president. Prosecutors say that this was an attempt to “unlawfully influence” the outcome of the 2016 election.

Hush money payments are not illegal but the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office alleges that Trump committed a crime by improperly recording the reimbursement as legal expenses. Trump is accused of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. All 12 jurors must agree to reach a verdict on whether or not he is guilty or not of a specific charge.

Testimony from multiple people is expected including Cohen, Daniels, and Trump’s personal lawyer who went to prison in part over the scandal.

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