In Trump Case, 'Layers Upon Layers of Evidence'

Opening arguments begin Monday in hush-money case in Manhattan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2024 6:33 AM CDT
Tabloid Publisher to Be First Witness in Trump Case
Donald Trump sits as final jurors are sworn in during his criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.   (Jane Rosenberg via AP, Pool)

Opening arguments in the People of the State of New York versus Donald J. Trump—otherwise known as Trump's hush-money trial—get underway Monday morning in a Manhattan courtroom, reports NBC News. The lowdown:

  • First witness: Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office are expected to call their first witness in the history-making case, and the New York Times reports that it will be David Pecker, former publisher of the National Enquirer. Pecker has admitted to buying and burying damaging stories about Trump ahead of the 2016 election. CNN also expects Pecker to be up first.

  • Duration: The trial on 34 felony counts could last six to eight weeks, per CBS News, and Trump is mandated to be in court—and thus off the campaign trail—for its duration. The court typically will not be in session on Wednesdays.
  • The case: Trump is accused of falsifying business records, with a $130,000 payment to former porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair at the heart of the case, per the AP. His former fixer, Michael Cohen, is billed as the prosecution's star witness. "The prosecution has layers upon layers of evidence to back up what Michael Cohen says," an attorney not involved with the case tells the Times. Trump himself insisted "there is no crime" in comments to reporters last week, per USA Today.
  • The stakes: If convicted, Trump faces four years in prison, though that would be unlikely. He would, however, lose the right to vote for himself in the election, and he would be the first convicted criminal to serve as president should he be reelected.
(More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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