Trump is about to stand trial in New York. This is what you can expect

President Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Cincinnati on Thursday.
(Associated Press)

Trump is about to stand trial in New York. This is what you can expect

Election 2024

Sarah D. Wire

April 10, 2024

Former President

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is expected to be taken off the campaign trail for at least two months starting next week while he stands trial in New York, in the first criminal prosecution of

to ex-

a former president in American history.

Trump is accused of falsifying company records in an attempt to hide money paid to an adult film actor to prevent her from going public with claims that she and Trump had sex.

It is the only one of the four felony cases Trump is currently facing that has a trial date and may be the only one concluded before Election Day. Jury selection begins on April 15.

What are the costs?

The lawsuit centers on whether Trump falsified business records to cover up a $130,000 payment his lawyer Michael Cohen made to adult film actor Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 campaign over her silence about a sexual encounter in 2006 that she said she had with Trump. He has pleaded not guilty. Trump also denies Daniels’ claim of a sexual encounter.

According to the New York indictment, Trump sent Cohen $420,000 in 12 installments during his first months as president in 2017 and falsely recorded the payments in internal Trump Organization documents as legal fees, citing a retainer agreement. That amount includes $130,000 in restitution for paying Daniels and additional money for Cohen.

Prosecutors say there were no legal fees or retainer agreement at the time.

The main thing Manhattan Dist. Atty. Alvin Bragg must prove to jurors that Trump instructed Cohen to make the payment to Daniels in an effort to influence the 2016 election by preventing damaging stories about him from being published.

Trump has said he tried to silence Daniels to prevent his wife, Melania Trump, from learning of the allegations.

Should Trump attend the trial in person?

Yes. Manhattan Judge Juan M


Merchan has said he expects Trump in court any day. The trial will take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for approximately six to eight weeks.

Trump has a gag order in place that prohibits him from making public statements or directing others to make public statements about counsel and court personnel in the case.

Merchan extended his gag order last week to prevent the former president from attacking the judge’s family members, attorneys and associates involved in the case after Trump shared a barrage of social media posts about the judge’s daughter , alleging that her previous work for Democratic clients had biased her father.

Trump said on social media on Saturday that it would be his “great honor” to go to prison for violating his gag order.

“If this partisan hack wants to get me in trouble for speaking the open and obvious TRUTH, I will happily become a modern-day Nelson Mandela,” Trump said in a Truth Social post on Saturday.

Merchan has not threatened to jail the former president for defying the gag order. Instead, Trump could lose access to juror names, Merchan said, if he engages in conduct that compromises the safety and integrity of the jury or the jury selection process. That would prevent Trump’s legal team from investigating the juror


‘ public views or political preferences prior to the trial. Items have already been ordered


names of jurors

want to be

to be hidden from the public.

What punishment awaits Trump?

All 34 charges are Class E felonies, the lowest category of crimes in New York. Each charge carries a maximum prison sentence of four years.

Merchan has indicated he takes white-collar crime seriously and could put Trump in prison, possibly to serve his term concurrently if the former president is convicted of more than one charge. Merchan could also sentence Trump to probation instead.

What does it mean politically?

During the duration of the trial, Trump will limit himself to campaigning on weekends, evenings and Wednesdays.

The verdict could come in late June or early July, just before Trump accepts his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in mid-July.

During the Republican primary campaign, Trump


used his four charges to his advantage, portraying himself as a victim of politicized justice and effectively suppressing his rivals. Whether that story will hold up when Americans see photos of him in court day in and day out is unknown.

Three polls conducted last year by the Associated Press and NORC asked respondents how they viewed the legality of Trump’s actions in the four indictments

he has been charged.

against him. Only a third of respondents said they believed the hush money payment had been illegally covered up.

Who wants to testify?

Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and longtime fixer, is expected to be prosecutors’ key witness. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations related to facilitating payoffs to Daniels and

Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, and other crimes. He spent over a year in prison.

Daniels could also be called to testify



a former Playboy model,

who told CNN in 2018 that she had a 10-month extramarital affair with Trump that began in 2006. Trump also denies that this affair took place.

McDougal received $150,000 in August 2016 from American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, for the rights to her story about the alleged affair. The payment to McDougal and


a $30,000 payment by the company to a former Trump Tower doorman who alleged Trump fathered a child out of wedlock with an employee are not part of the case but are expected to be introduced by Bragg to narrow the scope of the alleged plan to demonstrate influence on the 2016 elections.

American Media Inc. signed a non-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department, admitting to paying McDougal to prevent her from publicizing her alleged affair and influencing the 2016 election. David Pecker, the publisher of the Enquirer, could be called to testify.

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks, who served as Trump’s campaign press secretary in 2016, could also testify for the prosecution, possibly related to conversations about what Daniels’ claims could do to the campaign.

Are these misdemeanor charges?

In New York, falsifying company records can be a misdemeanor or elevated to a misdemeanor if prosecutors prove the records were falsified in an attempt to conceal another crime.

Bragg has accused Trump of concealing three crimes: a federal campaign finance violation, a state election law offense and tax fraud. Bragg does not have to accuse Trump of these crimes, or even prove that these crimes occurred. He only has to prove that there was intent to commit or conceal a second crime.

What about the other charges against Trump?

Trump has been charged in three other criminal cases.

The federal case accusing him of subverting the 2020 presidential election has been put on hold pending a Supreme Court decision on whether Trump can claim presidential immunity for acts committed while in office and thus avoid prosecution. The court is expected to hear oral arguments on April 25. It is expected to wait until the end of June to issue a written ruling, although the court could rule at any time after oral argument.

The Florida


filed a federal lawsuit accusing Trump of refusing to return classified documents he took with him

when leaving

the White House also has no trial date. Trump asked for a trial in August or a delay until after the election, while prosecutors asked for one to begin in July, shortly after the Supreme Court is expected to rule on presidential immunity.

The state-level case in Georgia, accusing Trump of plotting to overturn the 2020 election, has been delayed for weeks by an effort by Trump and his co-defendants to oust Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis removed from the case due to a romantic relationship with Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade. Supreme Court Justice Scott McAfee recently ruled that either Willis or Wade must leave the case, and Wade resigned. Trump’s lawyers have appealed the decision and a trial date has still not been set.


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