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Opening statements set to begin in Trump hush money trial

NEW YORK (NewsNation) — Former President Donald Trump‘s New York hush money trial is set to begin Monday with opening statements.

This comes after New York Judge Juan Merchan rejected Trump’s legal team’s last-ditch effort to delay the trial after claiming the jury selection process was unfairly rushed last week. The jury consists of seven men and five women with six alternates.

Trump trial opening statements

Lawyers from both sides will make their opening statements before prosecutors make their case against the former president. Prosecutors will need to convince the jury that the former president falsified business records with the intent to defraud and to commit or further another crime to prove he is guilty.  

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment his ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair with Trump ahead of the 2016 election.  

However, Trump has maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. He has since claimed the case against him is election interference.

The jury selection process took four days as lawyers for Trump, the prosecutors and Merchan narrowed down the prospective juror pool.

What to expect during Trump trial

The court will adjourn at 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday due to Passover this week. The court will still meet for its four regularly scheduled trial dates this week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  

Trump will also be battling a potential gag order related to the trial in court, calling it unfair.

It’s unclear who the prosecution plans to call first to testify. Prosecutors would only agree to reveal the names Monday over concerns Trump would attack the witnesses on social media.

Among those expected to testify during the trial is convicted felon Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and so-called fixer; Stormy Daniels, Trump’s alleged mistress; and former National Inquirer publisher David Pecker, who allegedly helped orchestrate payments to Daniels.

Pecker has reportedly been granted immunity in exchange for his testimony for the prosecution.

Trump said he would testify if asked to do so.

The trial is expected to last anywhere from six to eight weeks.

The Hill contributed to this report.

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