Monday, April 22, 2024

Trump trial underway: First former president to be tried for a crime

 Prosecutors in the first criminal trial of an American president began laying out their case for a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Monday, saying Donald J. Trump engaged in a conspiracy to cover up a sex scandal in order to get elected president in 2016, reported The New York Times.

The first witness called was the tabloid publisher David Pecker, whom prosecutors described as one member of a three-man plot to conceal damaging stories — including a porn star’s account of a sexual tryst — as Mr. Trump mounted his bid for the presidency.

Mr. Pecker was on the stand for only a few minutes in the afternoon before court adjourned for the day. He described how his publication, The National Enquirer, paid for stories, a practice he called “checkbook journalism.” He is expected to return to the stand on Tuesday.

Matthew Colangelo, one of the prosecutors for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, told the jury in his opening statement that the case was about “a criminal conspiracy and a coverup,” describing how Mr. Trump, his longtime counsel Michael D. Cohen, and Mr. Pecker engaged in a strategy to “catch and kill” negative stories.

The lead lawyer for Mr. Trump, Todd Blanche, insisted in his opening statement that the former president had done nothing wrong. “President Trump is innocent,” he told the jury. “President Trump did not commit any crimes.”

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