Sun. May 19th, 2024

Trump’s lawyers argue ‘democracy’ in response to ‘porn star payoff’ allegations. What you missed on Day 5 of his trial.

By 37ci3 Apr22,2024


More than a year after securing the indictment, New York prosecutors laid out their case against Donald Trump for the first time in a courtroom on Monday, weaving a story they say will prove the former president conspired with his “cleaner” and a tabloid publisher. . cover up hush money payments.

“This case is about criminal conspiracy. Trump developed a criminal plan to spoil the 2016 presidential election,” said Matthew Colangelo, a lawyer from Alvin Bragg’s office. “He then covered up this criminal scheme by repeatedly lying on his business records in New York.”

The prosecution detailed allegations of a sensational tabloid scheme to “catch and kill” stories that could damage Trump, a scheme that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said had Trump’s blessing and directly implicated him.

“You will hear the defendant’s own voice on the tape,” Colangelo said.

Here’s another thing you missed on day five of the trial:

The “Access Hollywood” tape appeared during the test

Prosecutors argued that when so-called Access Hollywood came to light during the 2016 campaign, it caused concern that prompted Trump and his allies to stop paying Stormy Daniels in an attempt to silence her.

Prosecutors cannot play the tapes for jurors, but government attorneys can read from the transcript, Judge Juan Mercan said. Prosecutors did just that before opening statements ended.

Colangelo quoted the tape to the jury, including Trump saying, “I just start kissing them … when you’re a star, they let you do anything.”

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo, right, speaks with former President Donald Trump and his attorney Todd Blanche as they speak Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York.  Judge Juan Merchan presides.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo, right, speaks as Trump and his attorney, Todd Blanche, look on Monday.Jane Rosenberg / Reuters

“The impact of that video on the campaign was immediate and explosive,” Colangelo explained to the jury, detailing how he began withdrawing endorsements from Trump allies.

At the defense table, Trump sat slumped.

A full jury awaits Trump

For the first time since four days of jury selection, Trump sat and watched with the full jury Monday morning — 12 jurors and six alternates.

Commercial judges must carefully guard against extraneous bias when hearing evidence in a case. Even though the jurors told their employers they were among the small group of New Yorkers who would try Trump, they weren’t supposed to talk about it. Instead, they must avoid all news about the case, investigate the details or anyone involved, while they hear evidence and pass judgment.

“Our laws do not allow jurors to talk to anyone else about the case,” Merchan said. “You are only found to be fair.”

The day opened with a juror worried about media attention from court, echoing last week the challenge of seating a jury in a densely populated city where Trump has loomed large for decades and whose popularity predated his insurgent 2016 presidential campaign.

Jurors preside over the historic case, but no one can escape the businesslike nature of a trial made up of ordinary Manhattanites with their commitments. Monday’s trial was adjourned earlier than expected to allow a juror with a toothache to attend an emergency dentist appointment.

Ruling on possible cross-examination of Trump

Trump slouched slightly in his chair as Merchan read his decision to allow prosecutors to extract facts from previous cases if the former president testified.

After hearing six separate trials involving 13 different designations filed by the prosecution, Merchan said he had “severely limited” the prosecution’s ability to obtain evidence, including the ability to exclude two prior full cases. But he warned Trump: “This Sandoval ruling is not a sword, but a shield.”

Trump seemed disinterested.

The prosecution opens with an allegation that Trump tried to “cook the books”.

In front of an eager jury, the prosecution said it would show the former president discussed the explosive allegations against Trump, including the need to pay in cash.

The prosecution alleges that Trump worked with attorney Michael Cohen to “cook the books” to hide a potentially damaging story for his campaign and the “porn star profits” that got rid of it.

“This was election fraud pure and simple,” Colangelo said, explaining that the Trump Organization couldn’t cut Cohen a check with the memo: “Payment of porn star earnings.”

He promised that jurors would prove how troubled the Trump campaign was by the story of the relationship between Trump and Daniels.

He also asked his publisher on election night, “What have we done?” revealed how he sent his message.

That publisher, David Packer, began testifying Monday and is expected to return to the stand and say that Trump met with him after the election to thank him for being the campaign’s “eyes and ears” and gathering potentially damaging information. and report it to Cohen.

When Packer entered the courtroom, Trump lifted his head, staring at the publisher. Packer took notes with attorney Todd Blanche as he explained the “checkbook journalism” of his publications, where he shelled out thousands of dollars in exchange for stories.

Trump’s defense: Pick holes

Blanche wasted no time trying to tell a story like the prosecutors. Instead, he began trying to tear the story apart.

“The story you heard, you will learn, is not true,” said Blanche.

Trump’s defense attorney, Blanche, attacked the evidence, which is nearly a decade old, as part of an effort to poke holes in the allegations against Trump.

“There is nothing wrong with trying to influence elections. It’s called democracy,” Blanche argued in the defense’s opening statements, calling the use of nondisclosure agreements “perfectly legal.”

Daniels, he said, tried “rip off” money Cohen, now a disgruntled ex-employee, was retaliating against Trump — a point that prosecutors objected to — against his client.

“You will learn, ladies and gentlemen, that Michael Cohen has been convicted of perjury,” Blanche said.

Blanche painted a picture of the “larger than life” former president, telling jurors that “he is also a husband, a man and a father.”

“Someone like me,” Trump said, watching his lawyer closely.

As the full jury faced Trump for the first time this morning, Merchan stressed that the burden of proof in the case “never shifted” to the defendant. The prosecution must not prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond all reasonable doubt,” he said.



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