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Historic Trial Begins: Donald Trump Faces Jury Over ‘Hush Money’ Allegation

In a significant development in the legal battles surrounding former President Donald Trump, the commencement of his trial for the so-called “hush money” case is scheduled for April 15th, marking a historic moment as the first time a former U.S. president will stand trial in a court of law.

The case, which revolves around allegations of falsifying business records to conceal payments aimed at silencing extramarital affair allegations during his 2016 presidential campaign, has garnered widespread attention. Trump is accused of orchestrating a scheme with his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to conceal a $130,000 payment to Stephanie Clifford, also known as “Stormy Daniels,” an adult film actor who alleged a past encounter with Trump.

Despite attempts by Trump’s legal team to defer proceedings until after the election, jury selection is set to commence in Manhattan, with Trump facing 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office, led by Alvin Bragg, alleges that Trump’s actions constituted an illegal attempt to sway the outcome of the 2016 election.

A key figure in the trial is expected to be Michael Cohen, who has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations related to the payments and is anticipated to testify regarding the origins and handling of the funds. The trial, expected to last several weeks, will not be televised, but PBS NewsHour correspondent William Brangham will provide coverage from the Manhattan courthouse.

As the trial unfolds, observers will closely monitor Trump’s demeanor and his response to the proceedings, given his history of vocal criticism directed at prosecutors and judges. Despite his assertions of innocence and claims of victimization by what he terms a “witch hunt,” the trial represents a pivotal moment in Trump’s legal battles as he navigates multiple legal challenges while continuing to engage in political activities.