Headline RoundupApril 22nd, 2024

Jury Hears Opening Statements in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Jurors heard opening statements and the first witness testimony in 2024 candidate and former President Donald Trump’s New York hush money trial on Monday. 

For Context: Trump is currently in New York on trial for business fraud stemming from allegations that he covered up hush money payments made shortly before the 2016 election to an adult film star.

Opening Statements: The prosecution and defense offered differing depictions of Trump’s actions, with prosecutors depicting Trump as a co-conspirator in a criminal conspiracy, and the defense arguing that Trump’s actions were not illegal. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo told the jury that Trump “wanted to conceal his and others’ criminal conduct,” Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, told the jury, “I have a spoiler alert: There’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It’s called democracy.”

First Witness: The trial also called its first witness, David Pecker, publisher of The National Enquirer. Prosecutors alleged Trump worked with Pecker to purchase and bury stories that could damage Trump’s campaign. The alleged stories include a disproven story about Trump fathering a child out of wedlock, a story about Trump having an affair with a Playboy model, and the most notable — Trump’s $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who Trump allegedly had an affair with. 

How the Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum covered Monday’s proceedings, noting the differing depictions of events given by the lawyers and the stakes of the trial for Trump’s political future.

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