Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial begins today: Here’s why it’s unprecedented

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Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial begins today: Here’s why it’s unprecedented

Today marks the start of a significant legal chapter for former President Donald Trump, as his trial concerning hush money payments commences. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about this unprecedented event.

For the first time in American history, a former President faces a criminal trial. Donald Trump stands accused of 34 felony charges linked to hiding a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election. The payment was allegedly made to silence allegations of an extramarital affair. Legal experts suggest that if found guilty, Trump could face probation or up to four years in prison.

Central to the case is the accusation that Trump reimbursed his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the hush money payment through falsified checks, violating federal election laws. Despite pleading not guilty, Trump’s attempts to delay the trial have been unsuccessful.

Stormy Daniels, who claims a previous encounter with Trump, is expected to testify against him. Cohen, who admitted guilt to campaign finance violations in 2018, is also slated to testify regarding the payments’ origins and handling.

The trial’s significance is underscored by its timing, coinciding with Trump’s potential reelection campaign. Despite accusations of bias, Trump will now face the judgment of a New York jury, which could further polarize public opinion.

The trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks, featuring jury selection, opening arguments, and witness testimonies. Trump intends to testify in his defense. Both sides frame the case as related to election interference, though they differ on which elections are affected.

While the trial won’t be televised, reporters will cover the proceedings, and they’ll be streamed in overflow rooms. Potential witnesses include Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, and Michael Cohen.

In the event of a conviction, Trump is likely to appeal, but the consequences for a former president with ongoing Secret Service protection remain uncertain. Despite differing opinions on the trial’s significance, many view it as a crucial step in ensuring accountability for Trump’s actions while in office.

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