Trump trial hears 2016 scheme in opening statements: ‘It was election fraud. Pure and simple’ | EUROtoday

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In their opening arguments to jurors, Manhattan prosecutors outlined Donald Trump’s alleged legal conspiracy to affect the 2016 presidential election by paying off publishers to bury compromising tales.

“This case is about a criminal conspiracy and a cover up,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo instructed jurors on Monday.

“The defendant Donald Trump orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election. Then he covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his business records, over and over and over again,” he stated.

The former president, who sank in his chair and stared in entrance of him in the course of the prosecution’s opening statements, is accused of drawing up an settlement for a “catch-and-kill” scheme in 2015 with assist from his-then lawyer Michael Cohen and National Enquirer writer David Pecker – an alleged plot that’s central to the so-called hush cash case on the centre of the 34 legal fees dealing with the previous president, in keeping with prosecutors.

“No politician wants bad press. But the evidence of trial will show that this was not spin or communications strategy,” Mr Colangelo stated. “This was a planned, coordinated, long-running conspiracy … It was election fraud. Pure and simple.”

The case from Manhattan district lawyer Alvin Bragg is the primary amongst Mr Trump’s 4 legal circumstances to go to trial, and certain the Republican nominee’s solely legal trial earlier than November’s normal election.

Prosecutors have grounded the case in a simple narrative – his former lawyer paid $130,000 to grownup movie Stormy Daniels to stop her from talking publicly about her affair with Mr Trump, who has denied ever having intercourse along with her. Prosecutors allege that Mr Trump’s reimbursements have been disguised as authorized charges throughout 34 enterprise data – 11 invoices, 11 cheques, and 12 ledger entries.

Donald Trump sits on the defence desk in a Manhattan legal courtroom on 22 April. (Getty Images)

Prosecutors plan to element a months-long “catch-and-kill” settlement – through which the National Enquirer’s publishing firm would purchase up doubtlessly politically damaging tales and increase constructive ones for Mr Trump’s marketing campaign, all main as much as the discharge of the so-called Access Hollywood tape only one month earlier than Election Day.

Mr Trump’s marketing campaign “went into immediate damage control mode” to make sure that different allegations towards the Republican candidate wouldn’t see the sunshine of day – together with allegations that Mr Trump had an affair with Ms Daniels years earlier, Mr Colangelo stated.

“Tune out of the noise. Focus on the facts,” he instructed jurors. “Focus on the logical inferences that follow from those facts. Focus on the evidence, listen to the testimony, read the documents, emails, text messages, bank statements, handwritten notes, all of it.”

After the trial, when prosecutors return to the jurors for closing arguments after reviewing that proof, all of it “inescapably leads to only one conclusion: Donald Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree,” in keeping with Mr Colangelo.

Todd Blanche, Mr Trump’s lead lawyer within the case, argued that there’s “nothing wrong with trying to influence an election.”

“It’s called democracy,” he stated in his opening remarks on Monday.

A collection of funds to Mr Cohen in 2017 have been merely for funds to a retainer settlement for authorized providers, in keeping with Mr Blanche. “What on earth is a crime? What is a crime about what I just described?” he stated.

The 34 counts towards his shopper “are really just 34 pieces of paper,” together with invoices, checks, and ledger entries from bill that stated “for retainer agreement for legal services,” in keeping with Mr Blanche.

“None of this was a crime,” he stated.

Any makes an attempt to bury politically damaging data sought to suppress tales designed to “embarass” Mr Trump and his household, throughout a time frame when there have been “all kinds of salacious allegations going around about President Trump,” Mr Blanche stated.

“President Trump fought back” to “protect his reputation, his family, his brand,” he stated.

The defence additionally will search to undermine testimony from Mr Cohen and Ms Daniels, who “doesn’t have any idea” or “know anything” concerning the invoices, checks and ledger notes within the indictment, in keeping with Mr Blanche.

“Her testimony, while salacious, does not matter,” he instructed jurors.

As for Mr Trump’s former lawyer, a detailed ally turned nemisis: “He cannot be trusted,” Mr Blanche stated.

“He rants and he raves about President Trump,” he added. “He criticizes President Trump. He talks extensively about his desire to see President Trump go to prison. He has talked extensively about his desire to see President Trump’s family go to prison.”