Home Explainer Donald Trump Trial: On Day 1, Editor Of Tabloid Takes The Stand...

Donald Trump Trial: On Day 1, Editor Of Tabloid Takes The Stand As Witness

Former US President Donald Trump criminal trial started in New York with opening statements from the prosecution, defence and with the first witness taking the stand.

The prosecution’s first witness is former publisher of a tabloid called National Enquirer David Packer. The prosecution’s case is that Packer helped Trump in his ‘snatch and kill’ scheme to help the former President stop stories unflattering to him from getting published.

In his opening statement, prosecutor Matthew Colangelo said, “This was a planned, long-running conspiracy to influence the 2016 election, to help Donald Trump get elected through illegal expenditures to silence people who had something bad to say about his behaviour.” He called it a case of election fraud, ‘plain and simple’, as he put it.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts connected to falsifying business records.

The prosecution says he lied about checks and invoices to disguise $240,000 in payments to his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Former President Donald Trump, who appeared in court wearing a blue tie, sat silent through most of the prosecution’s opening statement, occasionally shaking his head in disagreement with what was being said. “They take this payment and they call it a ‘legal expense.’ And you heard it today for the first time, this is what I got indicted over. This is what took me off and takes me off the campaign trail,” he lamented, adding, “Because I should be in Georgia now. I should be in Florida now. I should be in a lot of different places right now campaigning. And I’m sitting here and this will go on for a long time.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

What Trump is calling legal services, the prosecution is alleging was actually hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence. Trump has denied these allegations.

Trump’s Defence Attorney Todd Blanche, in his opening remarks, said, “I have a spoiler alert: there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It’s called democracy.”

The former President is unhappy that the trial takes him off the campaign trail ahead of November’s Presidential polls which are a re-match of 2020 elections.

It’s the first time a former President is facing criminal charges.

This is one of four criminal cases Trump faces but the first one where the trial has started in New York after the names of 12 jurors were finalised last week.