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Trump's historic criminal trial begins in the midst of the presidential campaign

Donald Trump will become the first ex-president in the history of the United States on Monday. face &agrav; criminal justice, with the opening of a trial New York which makes its duel against Joe Biden more unpredictable during the November election.

The Republican billionaire is expected to appear from 9:30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. GMT) in Manhattan for a case involving payments intended to buy the silence of former porn star Stormy Daniels, a few days before the 2016 presidential 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.

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

– “Very high stakes” –

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

Trump's historic criminal trial begins in the midst of the presidential campaign

Stormy Daniels on May 23, 2018 in West Hollywood © AFP – Robyn Beck

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 vainly multiplied appeals to delay the deadline. Saturday evening, at a meeting in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump once again portrayed himself as a victim of legal and political persecution.

“Our enemies want to take away my freedom because that I will never, ever let them take yours,” he told his supporters.

He assured that he would testify at the trial.

The Manhattan courthouse will be 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 that 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.

< p>– 130,000 dollars –

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

Trump&#39;s historic criminal trial begins in the midst of the presidential campaign

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, arrives in federal court in New York on December 12, 2018. © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA – EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ

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 elected prosecutor under the label Democrat Alvin Bragg, wants to demonstrate that there were indeed fraudulent maneuvers to hide information from voters a few days before the presidential election, 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 had paid the money to Stormy Daniels – at the request of his boss, he assures – and has already been convicted before federal justice for this affair, will be one of the key witnesses for the prosecution.

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.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

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