The first criminal trial against a former president of the United States in history begins this Monday (15), in New York. In the dock, Donald Trump, who will face 34 charges related to paying bribes to a former porn actress in 2016.

Donald Trump was indicted in 2023 by New York courts. According to the indictment, Trump allegedly tampered with legal documents in an attempt to hide a bribe payment made to Stormy Daniels.

Daniels, a former pornographic actress, claims to have had an affair with the former president shortly after Melania Trump, former first lady, gave birth to her son Barron Trump. To hush up the case, during the 2016 election, Trump allegedly ordered the payment of a bribe of US$130,000 (R$660,000).

To hush up the case, Trump declared the amount as legal fee payments to his then lawyer, Michael Cohen. It was Cohen, in 2016, who made the payment to Daniels.

In April 2018, Cohen’s office was the target of an FBI raid. There, officers seized millions of digital files. Trump then tried to distance himself from the lawyer. That’s when Michael Cohen agreed to denounce the Republican.

Of the 4 criminal cases against Trump, however, this is seen as the weakest. Firstly because it is a crime that few people understand and, secondly, because it is not a crime perpetrated thanks to his position as president.

The judgement

The trial officially begins on Monday morning and is expected to last between 6 and 8 weeks. Unlike previous hearings, Donald Trump is required to physically appear every day.

On Monday, as well as possibly the first two weeks, the focus will be on jury selection. This must be an extremely difficult task, as jurors must be impartial.

In total, 12 jurors will be selected to decide the former president’s future. To this end, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office sent 500 appearance summonses.

Potential jurors will be asked whether they follow or have followed Trump on social media, whether they are or have been part of groups such as QAnon, Proud Boys, Antifa and others. They will also be asked whether they have a strong opinion about Trump – something almost everyone in the US does.

Each of the 34 crimes with which Trump is accused can carry a maximum sentence of 4 years in prison. If he is convicted, not even a presidential pardon would get the Republican out of jail, as these are state crimes.

The trial will not be televised.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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