Nine questions about the Trump trial, answered

Former President Donald Trump’s hush money court case will kick off on Monday, marking the first time a former president will stand trial over criminal charges. The historic trial will require Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for the 2024 election, to defend himself from the Manhattan courtroom while simultaneously campaigning as the election season heats up. Fox News Digital compiled the top questions regarding the case ahead of it kicking off Monday at 10 a.m in Lower Manhattan.  Dubbed the “hush money case,” the trial’s origins reach back to October of 2016, when Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen paid former pornographic actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with the then-real estate tycoon in 2006. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels. The case is also expected to feature two other payments, including a $30,000 payment to a Trump Tower doorman who claimed that Trump fathered a child out of wedlock, and arranged a $150,000 payment through a tabloid publisher to a former Playboy model named Karen McDougal, who also claimed she had an affair with Trump and sold her story to the tabloid. Trump has also vehemently denied these allegations. FIVE KEY QUESTIONS ON HOW START OF TRUMP’S FIRST CRIMINAL TRIAL WILL IMPACT PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNProsecutors allege that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen, and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses.   “During the election, TRUMP and others employed a ‘catch and kill’ scheme to identify, purchase, and bury negative information about him and boost his electoral prospects,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleged last year. “TRUMP then went to great lengths to hide this conduct, causing dozens of false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity, including attempts to violate state and federal election laws.””Catch-and-kill” schemes are understood as tactics used by media and publishing companies to buy the rights of a person’s story with the intention of burying the information.COURT DENIES TRUMP BIDS TO DELAY START OF HUSH MONEY TRIALBragg announced Trump’s indictment in April of 2023 with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.The charges stem from checks reimbursing Cohen over a roughly 12-month period for paying Daniels in 2016. Cohen was separately arrested in 2018 and pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress. He was sentenced to three years in prison and has since been released. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor, but prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with an intent to commit or conceal a second crime, which would be a felony. The charges against Trump carry more than a decade in prison, if he is convicted on the counts.THE TRUMP TRIALS: HERE’S WHERE EACH CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST THE FORMER PRESIDENT STANDSLegal experts across the nation have weighed in that it is unlikely Trump would face a long prison sentence, if convicted, speculating that the 45th president would instead be given probation or up to four years in prison if found guilty by the jury, Fox News previously reported. Charges of falsifying business records are misdemeanors in New York, with prosecutors teeing up a case arguing that Trump falsified the business records to cover another crime, which makes falsifying the records a felony. Legal experts have weighed in that prosecutors will argue that Trump’s alleged actions were to ​​conceal campaign finance crimes.Legal experts who spoke to Fox News Digital expressed skepticism over the DA’s office linking the case to campaign finance crimes, with the Heritage Foundation’s senior legal fellow Zack Smith saying that prosecutors are trying to “bootstrap essentially what would ordinarily be misdemeanor charges into felony offenses.” ‘I TELL THE TRUTH’: TRUMP SAYS HE’LL TESTIFY AT HUSH MONEY TRIAL AS JUDGE REJECTS LAST MINUTE PLEA”Some of the charges he’s trying to bring are false records charges against Donald Trump. Which are ordinarily misdemeanors, unless they were done in furtherance of another felony – simply to cover up another felony. And in this case, as I understand it, Alvin Bragg is saying that the other felony was a federal campaign finance violation. So, you simply have a state prosecutor pursuing a state case against Donald Trump, based on a federal felony offense that the federal government, the Justice Department itself, declined to pursue,” Smith told Fox News Digital in an interview earlier this month. The Justice Department in 2019 “effectively concluded” its investigation into Trump’s payments. In 2021, the Federal Elections Commission, the agency dedicated to enforcing campaign finance laws, announced that it had dropped a case looking into whether Trump had violated election laws for the payment to Daniels. Former FEC member Hans Von Spakovsky underscored to Fox News Digital in another interview that both the FEC and DOJ had declined to pursue the case, yet a local DA is working to prove that Trump violated federal law. “The [FEC] looked at this and said that this settlement was not a violation of federal law. The Justice Department also has criminal enforcement authority over federal campaign finance laws, and the Justice Department has also not considered this a crime. And so you have this local DA claiming there’s a violation of federal law, when the two federal agencies with enforcement authority over that law say, ‘Well, no, there there was no violation of federal law.’ And look, I say that as a former commissioner on the FEC. My job as a commissioner was to enforce federal campaign finance law, and this is simply not a violation of federal law,” he said. In the hush money case, Trump could not pardon himself if convicted, and if he wins re-election come November 5. The Constitution dictates that a president’s pardoning powers “grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States,” meaning the powers only apply to federal cases. The hush money case is a state case. Manhattan Judge Juan M. Merchan, 61, is presiding over the case. Merchan, originally from Colombia, has served on the New York Supreme Court since 2009, overseeing felony criminal cases. He previously served as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan DA’s office in the 1990s and worked in the New York State Attorney General’s office, among other roles. TRUMP RAISES MILLIONS IN ATLANTA NEIGHBORHOOD THAT WANTS TO SECEDE FROM THE HIGH-CRIME CITYMerchan has previously overseen high-profile cases, including in 2012 the case of the “soccer mom madam,” when a woman named Anna Gristina was charged with running a high-end prostitution ring in Manhattan. He also presided over the Trump Organization’s 2022 criminal trial involving charges of criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records, and he is currently overseeing a case involving Trump-supporter Steven Bannon on charges that he defrauded donors to build a wall along the nation’s southern border. Trump has railed against Merchan on Truth Social, including last month when he called on the judge to recuse himself and cited Merchan’s daughter and her work as a political consultant for Democratic politicians. TRUMP DEFENSE CHALLENGES JURY SELECTION IN CRIMINAL HUSH MONEY TRIAL”Judge Juan Merchan, who is suffering from an acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome (whose daughter represents Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, and other Radical Liberals, has just posted a picture of me behind bars, her obvious goal, and makes it completely impossible for me to get a fair trial) has now issued another illegal, un-American, unConstitutional ‘order,’ as he continues to try and take away my Rights,” Trump posted on Truth Social last month after he was given a gag order limiting what he could publicly say about the case. A large group of potential jurors will gather in the courtroom this week, where they will be presented with an overview of the case and asked whether they are able to serve in a fair and impartial manner. TRUMP CAMPAIGNS IN KEY BATTLEGROUND STATE; BIDEN WILL VISIT NEXT WEEK DURING TRUMP’S ‘HUSH MONEY’ TRIALThose who show they cannot be impartial will be dismissed, while those who remain will be asked a series of 42 questions, which Merchan released in a letter last week, including: Jury selection will continue until 12 New Yorkers and a handful of alternates are assigned to the panel. Trump has railed against the “hush money” case repeatedly, including in Pennsylvania on Saturday, where he held his last scheduled campaign rally ahead of the trial officially beginning Monday. “I will be forced to sit fully gagged. I’m not allowed to talk. They want to take away my constitutional right to talk,” Trump said in Pennsylvania, referring to the gag order that prevents him from publicly discussing potential witnesses and jurors.TRUMP SET TO HOST RALLY IN BIDEN’S HOME STATE AHEAD OF HUSH MONEY TRIAL “I’m proud to do it for you,” he continued, calling the trial a “communist show trial” which he claims is orchestrated by the Biden administration. “Have a good time watching.” Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations in the case and has pleaded not guilty to the 34 charges. The 45th president told reporters on Friday that he will testify in the trial, which he described as a “scam” and a “witch hunt.” “I’m testifying. I tell the truth. I mean, all I can do is tell the truth,” he said at Mar-a-Lago Friday, Fox News previously reported. “And the truth is that there’s no case.”The trial will not be televised and is anticipated to last between six and eight weeks. Trump is required under New York law to be in the courtroom throughout court proceedings.
Go to Source

Scroll to Top