Trump set to return to court for opening statements in historic hush money trial

Opening statements in Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial are set to begin on Monday morning, setting the stage for weeks of testimony about the former US president’s personal life.

A panel of New Yorkers — 12 jurors and six alternates — was sworn in last Friday after four days of jury selection and will hear what is the first-ever criminal trial against a former US commander-in-chief.

Mr Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories that he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016.

At the heart of the allegations is a $130,000 (€121,000) payment made to porn actor Stormy Daniels by Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, to prevent her claims of a sexual encounter with Mr Trump from surfacing in the final days of the race.

Prosecutors say Mr Trump obscured the true nature of such payments in internal business documents.

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

He has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The hush money case is the first of Mr Trump’s four indictments to reach trial.

Mr Trump arrived at the courthouse shortly before 9am local time (2pm BST), minutes after castigating the case in capital letters on social media as “election interference” and a “witch hunt”.


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