President Trump Decides to Implement New Policy on Immigration

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President Trump Decides to Implement New Policy on Immigration

Opening statements are set to begin this morning in former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York. Prosecutors will begin laying out their case for jurors, alleging Trump falsified business records to cover up a “hush money” payment during his 2016 campaign, while defense attorneys are expected to argue Trump has been charged on flimsy evidence from an untrustworthy key witness.

It’s a moment nearly eight years in the making, dating back to just days before the 2016 election, when that witness, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged sexual encounter. Prosecutors say Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payment in 12 monthly installments during the first year of his presidency, portraying them as checks for ongoing legal services in a scheme to conceal the “hush money.” Trump was charged last year with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Trump, who has pleaded not guilty in the case, denies having had a sexual encounter and has called the case a “witch hunt” and “election interference.”

He seethed about the case last week as the trial got underway with jury selection. Trump lashed out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in public appearances and posted about Bragg, Judge Juan Merchan and Cohen on social media. But inside the courtroom, Trump was reserved, speaking rarely and even appearing to nod off from time to time, as 192 potential jurors were narrowed to a dozen, plus six alternates.

That group is the first panel of jurors in U.S. history to sit in judgment of a former president in a criminal case.

Former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan Criminal Court for his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments, on April 19, 2024.

/ Getty Images

After opening statements, prosecutors are expected to call as their first witness David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, according to a source familiar with the plan.

He’s expected to testify that he, Cohen and Trump orchestrated a “catch and kill” scheme, in which Pecker’s publication purchased the rights to negative stories about Trump and suppressed them, while publishing unflattering stories about Trump’s opponents.

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