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Donald Trump To Stand Historic Trial Over Hush-Money Case In New York

Donald Trump, if found guilty of falsifying business records to conceal paid hush money, could receive a 4-year prison sentence.

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with members of the National Association of Police Organizations Leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on July 31st, 2020.

Donald Trump is set to make history on Monday as he becomes the first former US president to stand trial in a criminal case, marking a significant moment in American legal and political history.

The trial will revolve around allegations of falsifying business records to conceal hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels, a former adult film star, just before the 2016 election.

At 77, Trump faces the possibility of a maximum four-year jail sentence if convicted, although he could potentially avoid incarceration and receive fines instead.

Maintaining his innocence, Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.

The trial, commencing with jury selection on Monday, will unfold against the backdrop of Trump’s presidential campaign and could potentially impact the upcoming November elections. Alex Keyssar, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, described the trial as “unprecedented” and highlighted its significance in the context of American legal history.

Central to the trial is the reimbursement Trump made to his former fixer, Michael Cohen, who claims he was directed to pay $130,000 to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.

Prosecutors contend that this payment was an attempt to unlawfully influence the 2016 election. Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

The trial is expected to feature testimony from key figures, including Cohen, Stormy Daniels, and Trump’s personal lawyer, who was previously imprisoned in connection with the scandal.

Legal experts are divided over the strength of the prosecution’s case, which involves a novel legal approach to bringing felony charges over the falsification of business records.

Trump’s attempts to delay the trial and move it from Manhattan, where it is predominantly Democratic, have been unsuccessful. A gag order has been imposed on Trump, preventing him from making public comments about individuals related to the case, including witnesses.

While this criminal case is one of four Trump is facing this year, it could be the only trial to take place before his potential 2024 election rematch with President Joe Biden.

Despite the legal challenges, Trump’s popularity among a significant portion of the electorate remains largely unaffected. However, the heightened media scrutiny surrounding the trial could influence the upcoming election, according to Georgetown University Professor Hans Noel.

With the trial set to unfold in the coming weeks, the attention it garners is expected to shape the narrative leading up to the election, underscoring the pivotal role of legal proceedings in the political landscape of the United States.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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