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Trump denounces “political persecution” on first day of his historic criminal trial

Photo: Michael Nagle via Agence France-Presse Former United States President Donald Trump in Manhattan court Monday

Andréa Bambino – Agence France-Presse in New York

10:29 a.m.

  • United States

Donald Trump, who on Monday became the first former American president to appear before the criminal justice system, described his trial in New York as “an attack on America”, which makes his duel against Joe Biden during the election even more unpredictable presidential election in November.

Just before the hearing opened in Manhattan court, the Republican candidate once again denounced “political persecution” plotted by the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden.< /p>

He then entered the court room behind one of his lawyers, where he sat with an expression of deep seriousness on his face, engaging in an intense discussion with his counsel without paying attention to the prosecutor Alvin Bragg.

Judge Juan Merchan then opened the session around 10:00 a.m. and began considering appeals presented by the defense, including rejecting a request to recuse himself.

Donald Trump is on trial for a case of payments intended to buy the silence of former porn star Stormy Daniels, a few days before the 2016 election which made him the 45th president of the United States.

A little more than three years after leaving the White House in chaos, he faces, in theory, a prison sentence. This would not prevent him from being a candidate in the presidential election on November 5, where he dreams of a revenge against Joe Biden, but would place the campaign in a completely new situation.

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  • Donald Trump becomes first former US president to face criminal trial

If he were found not guilty, it would on the contrary be a major victory for the Republican candidate.

“The stakes are very high, because Trump and his lawyers have succeeded so far in slowing down [other] trials” on charges of illegal attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and its management of classified documents, underlines for AFP Carl Tobias, professor of law at the University of Richmond.

And the Stormy Daniels case, described as fragile by experts, “could be the only one judged before the elections,” he adds.

Until the last days, lawyers have vainly multiplied the appeals to delay the deadline. Saturday evening, at a meeting in Pennsylvania, he assured that he would testify at the trial.

Long questionnaire for jurors

The Manhattan court is placed under very high security. Pro- and anti-Trump protests are expected, as are media cameras around the world. The hearings will not be televised.

First step Monday, the selection of the twelve jurors who will be responsible for unanimously declaring Donald Trump “guilty” or “not guilty”, a process which could take several days.

At least a hundred Manhattan residents will be gathered in the courtroom, where they will have to answer a long questionnaire on their political affiliations, and whether or not they sympathize with Donald Trump.

The billionaire is indicted for 34 falsifications of accounting documents from his company, the Trump Organization, which allegedly aimed to hide, under the cover of “legal fees”, payments made in the very final stretch of the 2016 presidential election to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels.

For $130,000, the latter had agreed to keep quiet about a sexual relationship with the Republican billionaire ten years earlier, when he was already married to Melania Trump. Donald Trump has always denied this relationship and his defense intends to demonstrate that the payments were in the private sphere.

But the prosecution, led by the prosecutor elected under the Democratic label, wants to demonstrate that there were indeed fraudulent maneuvers to hide information from voters a few days before the presidential election, which was narrowly won by the Republican against Hillary Clinton.

One of the challenges of the trial will be to determine what Donald Trump knew about these payments when they took place.

His former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who paid the money to Stormy Daniels – at the request of his boss, he claims – and has already been convicted in federal court for this affair , will be one of the prosecution's key witnesses.

The defense intends to pound this witness, who has become the sworn enemy of Donald Trump, and who was also convicted of lying before the American Congress.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116