Porn stars, gag orders, sex scandals and zzz’s: A to Z of Trump’s secret trial

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Porn stars, gag orders, sex scandals and zzz’s: A to Z of Trump’s secret trial

Opening statements are to be heard in Donald Trump’s trial over hush-money payments to a porn star.

A jury has been selected in a New York court to witness the first criminal trial of a former US president.

Opening remarks from the prosecution and defense will be followed by testimony from witnesses.

Donald Trump faces 34 charges of falsifying business records. They concern $130,000 paid to a porn star Stormy Daniels to buy his silence about an alleged affair in the days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election, which Trump won.

He is accused of criminally altering business records to conceal the payment. His lawyers say the payment was to save him and his family embarrassment, not to help him win the election.

Trump denies the accusations against him.

Below is an A-Z guide to this historic trial:

A is for AMI, the publishing house whose portfolio includes the National Enquirer magazine. He admitted his involvement in a scheme to suppress damaging information about Trump before the 2016 election.

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Trump denounces “hoax” trial

B It’s for Bragg, as it is for Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who brought these charges. When releasing the indictment, Mr Bragg said: “Someone lied again and again to protect their interests and evade the laws to which we are all held accountable.” He was the target of racist insults and death threats. Trump called him a “thug” and a “degenerate psychopath.”

VS stands for “Catch & Kill,” the prosecution’s label for the project to “capture” stories of Trump’s extramarital affairs and “kill” them before they can be published.

D is for Daniels, as in Stormy Daniels. The former porn star – real name Stephanie Clifford – claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006 after meeting him at a golf tournament. He denies having had an affair. Ms. Daniels claims she accepted $130,000 from Trump’s lawyer to stay silent, days before the 2016 election.

Who is Stormy Daniels, the porn star at the center of Trump’s hush money scandal?

E is for entries, as in entries in Trump’s company books. The hush money payments were made by Trump’s lawyer, who was later reimbursed. The reimbursement was recorded on the books as a legal expense – i.e. “falsification of business records.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court with his legal team before the start of jury selection in New York, NY, Monday, April 15, 2024. Jabin Botsford/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
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Photo: Reuters

F is for four years. This is the amount of time Trump could face in prison for each of the 34 counts he is accused of, up to a maximum of 20 years. A prison sentence, however, seems unlikely for a non-violent first-time offender.

g It’s for the gag. The judge ordered Trump not to make, or direct others to make, any public statements about witnesses or other participants in the case. The prosecutor says Trump violated the order and wants a $1,000 fine imposed.

H is for Hope Hicks. Trump’s press secretary during the 2016 campaign, and one of his most trusted confidants, is expected to testify. Her “in the room” testimony could take us to the heart of the Trump operation as it struggled to quell the scandal.

I is for interference, as in election interference. Prosecutors say the falsification of business records was done in an effort to influence the 2016 election.

Opening statements in the Trump trial could begin as soon as Monday, the judge said.  Photo: Curtis Means/Pool via Reuters
Picture:
Photo: Curtis Means/Pool via Reuters

J. is for the jury. Seven men and five women were selected to take office. Six other people will participate in the trial as alternates or substitutes, if necessary. The jury members were subjected to a rigorous assessment of their ability to be impartial, including questions about their political affiliations, their sources of information and their opinions about Trump himself.

K is for Karen McDougal. She is the other woman involved in the secret payments scheme. The former Playboy model claims she had an affair that began in 2006 and that she and Trump had sex “several dozen times.” His silence was allegedly bought for $150,000.

L it’s for liar. This is the description Trump used of the witness at the center of the accusation (see M). Michael Cohen admitted to lying to Congress in 2017 about a Trump project in Russia. His admission is highlighted by Trump in an attempt to discredit him.

Mr. is for Michael Cohen, the “star” witness. He was Trump’s personal lawyer and intermediary who made the secret payments. In 2018, he was jailed for his role in the scheme and sentenced to three years for campaign finance violations. He was also convicted of lying to Congress, among other crimes. Cohen once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, but now calls him a “cheater,” a “tyrant” and a “crook.” Trump calls Cohen a “rat” and a “proven liar.”

NOT is for a New York jurisdiction. Trump, originally from Queen’s in new York, is tested at home. However, the jury, from which its members were selected, does not correspond well to its politics. New York is Democratic territory and this concerns the defense team of a Republican presidential candidate. He tried, unsuccessfully, to move the trial elsewhere.

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Trump in New York: “I love this city”

Oh is for other cases. Trump’s three other criminal prosecutions face delays and legal arguments. On Thursday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether he is entitled to immunity from prosecution in connection with the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. His decision, and how quickly it is made, will determine whether this case will be heard before the November election. The other two – on the mishandling of classified documents and interference in Georgia’s elections – seem less likely to succeed within this time frame.

P. is for Pecker, as for David Pecker. The owner of AMI Editions could be a key witness. In a “non-prosecution” agreement, AMI admitted to making discreet payments. Pecker, a longtime Trump ally, agreed to identify negative stories about Trump so they could be bought and their publication avoided.

The key figures in the Donald Trump silence affair

Q is intended for questions about politics in the administration of American justice. In most American states, District Attorneys are elected and Donald Trump highlights Alvin Bragg’s democratic leanings. In a press release issued the day before the opening statements, the Trump team wrote that its “legal efforts against President Trump were a primary focus.” [election] campaign”.

A. is for withdrawing from the presidential campaign – a complaint from Trump. He told media in court: “I’m supposed to be in New Hampshire, I’m supposed to be in Georgia, I’m supposed to be in North Carolina, South Carolina. I’m supposed to be in many countries. I was campaigning in different places, but I’ve been here all day for a trial that is really very unfair.”

Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower to go to Manhattan Criminal Court.  Photo: AP
Picture:
Photo: AP

S is for the sex scandal that loomed over the Trump team amid the 2016 secret payment and, arguably, instigated the scheme. In a so-called “Access Hollywood” tape that was made public, Trump was heard saying about women: “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. grab them by the [genitals]. You can do anything.” It was three weeks later that the money was paid to Stormy Daniels.

T is for testimony. Trump insists he will testify at trial. If so, prosecutors asked the judge if they could bring up his previous run-ins with the law, for example, a civil court finding of sexual assault, to question his credibility.

u it is for unanimity. The jury must reach a unanimous verdict to convict Trump. He only needs one to disagree.

V is for voting, as is for the impact a conviction will have on Trump in the election. Although this case, along with other lawsuits, has solidified support for Trump among his MAGA (Make America Great Again) base and fueled fundraising, that is not necessarily the case among voters in general. A recent Politico/IPSOS survey showed that more than a third of independent voters said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to support Trump’s candidacy — which could be significant, in a close race.

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Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower Photo: Reuters
Picture:
Photo: Reuters

W It’s for “witch hunt.” Trump repeatedly criticizes these and other lawsuits as a “political witch hunt.” He sees it as an attempt to undermine his presidential campaign and has called it a “scam” and an “assault on America.”

X is for the cross that potential jurors were asked to pit against groups they might have been members of: the QAnon movement, Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, Three Percenters, Boogaloo Boys and Antifa.

Yes is for yellow. This is how one juror described Trump, after seeing him in court. She told MSNBC: “It looked less orange, definitely, more yellowish, more yellow.”

Z it’s for zzzz… During jury selection, some observers said Trump fell asleep in court, more than once. Maggie Haberman, a reporter for the New York Times, noted: “Mr. Trump appeared to fall asleep on several occasions, his mouth slackening and his head falling to his chest. » Trump aides denied the suggestion.

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