Prosecution lays out ‘criminal conspiracy’ in historic Trump trial – World

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NEW YORK: Donald Trump engaged in a multi-layered conspiracy of fraud, lies and cover-ups, prosecutors said as opening arguments began Monday in the first ever criminal trial of a former US president.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo said Trump falsified business records to pay $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to buy her “silence” over a 2006 sexual encounter that could have impacted his 2016 presidential bid.

“This case is about a criminal conspiracy and a cover-up,” Colangelo told the jury of New Yorkers in a Manhattan courtroom. “It was election fraud, pure and simple.”

Trump, dressed in a dark suit and blue tie, sat at the defense table, staring straight ahead as the prosecutor delivered his remarks.

Presenting his opening statement to the 12 jurors and six alternates, Todd Blanche, one of Trump’s attorneys, said “President Trump did not commit any crimes.”

“I have a spoiler alert: there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election,” Blanche said. “It’s called democracy.”

“The Manhattan DA should never have brought this case,” he said. “President Trump is presumed innocent. He’s cloaked in innocence.”

Before the court session began, Trump also insisted he had done nothing wrong and condemned the case as “election interference” designed to derail his 2024 White House bid.

“It’s a very, very sad day in America,” the 77-year-old Republican presidential candidate told reporters.

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