NIn the opening statements of Trump’s trial, prosecutors argued that the former president “orchestrated a criminal scheme to subvert” the 2016 presidential election.

Defense lawyers have argued that Trump is innocent, adding that the Manhattan district attorney’s office “should never have brought this case.”

A panel of New York jurors — 12 jurors and six alternates — was sworn in last Friday, after four days of jury selection, and began today to participate in what is the first criminal trial against a former president of the USA.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records as part of an alleged scheme to cover up stories he believed could harm his 2016 presidential campaign.

At the center of the accusations is a payment of around 100,000 euros made to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, to prevent an extramarital relationship with the businessman from becoming known.

Prosecutors say Trump concealed the true nature of the payments by falsifying business documents.

The former president denies having a sexual encounter with Daniels and his lawyers argue that the payments made to Cohen were legitimate legal expenses, pleading not guilty to 34 criminal charges of falsifying business records.

One of Donald Trump’s defense lawyers focused during opening statements on repeating arguments calling into question the credibility of one of the prosecution’s main witnesses: Michael Cohen.

Attorney Todd Blanche provided an extensive account of Cohen’s criminal record and the fact that he was previously convicted of lying under oath.

Blanche accused Cohen of being “obsessed with the former president,” saying “his financial livelihood depends on destroying Trump’s reputation.

“You cannot make a serious decision about President Trump by trusting Michael Cohen’s words,” Blanche argued.

Anticipating the defense’s likely attacks on its main witness, prosecutor Matthew Colangelo recognized Cohen’s criminal record at the beginning of the trial.

Defense lawyers also argued that Trump had nothing to do with payments made to prevent stories about his sex life from becoming public in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Blanche took particular issue with the prosecution’s insinuation that the payment to Stormy Daniels was intended to try to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

“There is nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. That’s called democracy,” concluded the lawyer.

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