Prosecutors to make history with opening statements in hush money case against Donald Trump
Donald Trump in New York court. Image via AP.

Trump in court
Colorful figures like Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen expect to testify in the case.

For the first time in history, prosecutors will present a criminal case against a former American President to a jury as they accuse Donald Trump of a hush money scheme aimed at preventing damaging stories about his personal life from becoming public.

A 12-person jury in Manhattan is set to hear opening statements from prosecutors and defense lawyers in the first of four criminal cases against the presumptive Republican nominee to reach trial.

The statements are expected to give jurors and the voting public the clearest view yet of the allegations at the heart of the case, as well as insight into Trump’s expected defense.

Attorneys will also introduce a colorful cast of characters who are expected to testify about the made-for-tabloids saga, including a porn actor who says she had a sexual encounter with Trump and the lawyer who prosecutors say paid her to keep quiet about it.

Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and could face four years in prison if convicted, though it’s not clear if the judge would seek to put him behind bars. A conviction would not preclude Trump from becoming president again, but because it is a state case, he would not be able to attempt to pardon himself if found guilty. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Unfolding as Trump vies to reclaim the White House, the trial will require him to spend his days in a courtroom rather than the campaign trail. He will have to listen as witnesses recount salacious and potentially unflattering details about his private life.

Trump has nonetheless sought to turn his criminal defendant status into an asset for his campaign, fundraising off his legal jeopardy and repeatedly railing against a justice system that he has for years claimed is weaponized against him.

Hearing the case is a jury that includes, among others, multiple lawyers, a sales professional, an investment banker and an English teacher.

The case will test jurors’ ability to set aside any bias but also Trump’s ability to abide by the court’s restrictions, such as a gag order that bars him from attacking witnesses. Prosecutors are seeking fines against him for alleged violations of that order.

The case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg revisits a chapter from Trump’s history when his celebrity past collided with his political ambitions and, prosecutors say, he sought to prevent potentially damaging stories from surfacing through hush money payments.

One such payment was a $130,000 sum that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, gave to porn actor Stormy Daniels to prevent her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump from emerging into public shortly before the 2016 election.

Prosecutors say Trump obscured the true nature of the payments in internal records when his company reimbursed Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2018 and is expected to be a star witness for the prosecution.

Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, and his lawyers argue that the payments to Cohen were legitimate legal expenses.

To convict Trump of a felony, prosecutors must show he not only falsified or caused business records to be entered falsely, which would be a misdemeanor, but that he did so to conceal another crime.

The allegations don’t accuse Trump of an egregious abuse of power like the federal case in Washington charging him with plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, or of flouting national security protocols like the federal case in Florida charging him with hoarding classified documents.

But the New York prosecution has taken on added importance because it may be the only one of the four cases against Trump that reaches trial before the November election. Appeals and legal wrangling have delayed the other three cases.


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • the devil

    April 22, 2024 at 8:45 am

    checkin in w u PETE did i ever tell you how much i love your blog

    you mean so much to me even though nobody cares

    another day alive and free in paradise

    If you don’t hear from me, I’ll be here watching, reading……………………………………….

    If you do hear from me……………. its because there are police at my door


    • Dont Say FLA

      April 22, 2024 at 11:52 am

      Stop teasing us. If you plan to self-immolate too, be like Nike and show us your Hoo Haa: Just Do It!

      • the devil

        April 22, 2024 at 6:24 pm

        gee what a GREAT idea! you must have been the first fukin person to ever think of that!

        PETE do us a favor – while you’re working on those arrow thingies so we can see who the fuk we’re actually trying to talk to—please also configure a media upload field in the comment section


        • Dont Say FLA

          April 24, 2024 at 11:23 am

          Nope. Self-immolation has been around as a form of very attention getting protest for 1000s of years of currently recorded history, but I was thinking about the guy from St Augustine who just did it the other day, and also thinking about Rhonda’s laws preventing coverage of self-immolation in Florida which why would Rhonda make that law unless they plan to do such hideous things to Floridans that self-immolation over Floridian legislation is strongly predicted?

  • ScienceBLVR

    April 22, 2024 at 10:12 am

    Ohhhh oh hear that? Sounds like the chickens coming home to roost. Lock him up!

  • Ocean Joe

    April 22, 2024 at 10:29 am

    If he smells like s—, you must acquit. Have mercy on the jailers.

  • Dont Say FLA

    April 22, 2024 at 10:38 am

    People can whine all they like about how it’s so unfair and it’s politically motivated blah blah whatever they think and that’s fine.

    But let’s hope this jury’s findings are accepted by the MAGAs.

    They already haven’t accepted the grand jury’s findings that this was worth going to trial. Will they accept this jury’s findings or any jury’s findings (or any election results for that matter) that aren’t to their liking?

    Will they finally accept it? Or will they continue going on and on like the crying crybabies they’ve inexplicable all been since their guy lost the popular vote (for a second time) and also lost the electoral college and the office of President of USA?

    He’ll lose the popular vote for a third time this November. There’s zero question about that. But will he squeak out another electoral college win?

    There’s one way to prevent that electoral college win. That would be a pre-civil war purge of MAGAs in swing states, and it would be much smaller scale than any other civil war to come about from this November’s elections.

    Swing states need to find MAGA voters that are up to no good, bring charges, and get them down as felons. A couple hundred thousand more felonious MAGA voters is all it takes to secure the future of the US Constitution and America as we know it and love it (unless we’re MAGAs in which case we hate America so much that we want to shred the Constitution. MAGA slogan is aka “Death to America”)

    • Ocean Joe

      April 22, 2024 at 10:44 am

      Nobody is whining, we’re making popcorn.

      • Dont Say YSL

        April 22, 2024 at 11:41 am

        Popcorn – Great idea! I’m saving my popcorn for the Georgia trial that will be 100% on TV, excepting privileged interactions in chambers and maybe excepting interactions at the bench but I think normally everything in the courtroom, even when the jury is taken out, everything that goes on inside the courtroom does go onto the live stream (and TV for any old folks watching)

        Anybody wanna see EXACTLY what the Georgia Trump Trial gonna look like, except it’ll be a bunch of whites rather than “the blacks” (who LOVE Trump, according to Trump, lol), there’s a RICO trial been going on in Georgia and being aired live every court day for about a year now and it’s still going. It’s the YSL trial. YSL, aka Young Thug.

        Look it up. Watch a little bit of it and you’ll see: Save your popcorn!

        One caveat: The YSL trial witnesses seem not to want to provide any information that’s damaging to the defendant(s). The Trump trial witnesses, I predict, will feel polar opposite of that, practically frothing at the mouth, drooling with anticipation, wanting to expound at length to implicate the defendants until the prosecuting attorneys make them shuddup arready for answering well beyond the scope of the question asked such that their response are getting into risk territory for when the verdict (of course) goes on appeal.

      • Dont Say FLA

        April 22, 2024 at 12:02 pm

        Oh, Joe, my “whining” comment wasn’t a reply to you. It was just a comment replying to the news post.

        The indentation for reply-to-another-commenter comments on this thing is really NOT easy to discern. There oughta be a vertical guide line!


          April 22, 2024 at 7:09 pm

          Thank you my beautiful and courtious Son/Daughter for being sweet to OJ.
          He’s a man of integerity and your Dads Besty.
          Dad Pitts American

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704