Will Trump’s “hush money” case go to trial today? Will it change the outcome of the election?

Monday Eastern Time is another landmark day in American political history: A U.S. court will hear former U.S. President Trump’s “hush money” case, which means he will become the first former U.S. president to face a criminal trial. .

Although it is widely believed that the case tried on Monday is the least impactful of the four criminal prosecutions faced by Trump, it is also the only case in which Trump will face a criminal trial before the US election in November this year.

If Trump is convicted, not only may he be imprisoned, but it will also make the public doubt his ability to lead the country, affect his support among middle voters, and thus may change the results of the general election in November this year.

In addition, since the trial process of the “hush money case” is expected to last 6 to 8 weeks, this means that Trump will have to appear in court four days a week for nearly two months, which may delay his Campaign schedule. For this reason, the Trump campaign dismissed the trial as an election interference strategy by Democrats trying to confine Trump to the court.

Trump may become the first former president to be convicted of a criminal offense

Monday’s criminal trial is about Trump’s “hush money” case: In March 2023, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filed a lawsuit against Trump for allegedly committing crimes in 2016. During the campaign, he falsified business records and paid hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels to hide her extramarital affair scandal from the public before the 2016 election.

The indictment in this case also includes 34 counts of falsifying business records. Although falsifying business records is typically a misdemeanor, Alvin Bragg argued that the hush payments amounted to a campaign finance violation, elevating the charge to a felony.

The trial marks an extraordinary moment for Trump.

This trial may increase the possibility that he will be convicted before the general election vote. At the same time, this trial may also further intensify the divisions in the United States: Trump’s opponents will become more convinced that he is a criminal, and Trump’s opponents will become more convinced that he is a criminal. Supporters will increasingly believe that he is a victim of the Democratic Party’s “witch hunt”.

The 77-year-old former president currently pleads not guilty to the charges. Although these accusations do not prevent him from running or becoming president. However, if he is convicted and sentenced to prison, he could face more than four years in prison, which could trigger a political crisis.

What happens if Trump is convicted?

If Trump is convicted, this result may deal a blow to Trump’s election prospects.

According to a January Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll, more than half of swing state voters said they would not vote for Trump if he was convicted. However, 40% of voters in swing states said that even if the jury found Trump guilty, they would still be willing to vote for him, and another 7% were undecided.

In addition, if Trump is convicted, it will also force the US legal system to face unprecedented problems. For example, whether Trump will go to jail during the campaign; if Trump wins the subsequent election, when will he serve his sentence?

Given that sentencing hearings typically take place within weeks of a verdict, that means Trump would likely be jailed this summer if found guilty.

But former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin said judges will have significant leeway in deciding when and how long to sentence Trump. Because Trump has no previous criminal record, this may allow the judge to impose a shorter sentence or probation.

“The chances of him going to jail are slim,” Zeldin said. “I still think that if Trump is convicted in New York, he will appeal and remain free in the meantime.”

The Democratic Party’s election interference methods?

A spokesman for the Trump campaign said the trial represented an “election interference strategy” by Democrats “trying to keep Trump away from the campaign by confining him in court.”

Currently, Trump is required by law to attend his trial in Lower Manhattan state court every day. This means that Trump will stand in the public spotlight as both a presidential candidate and a criminal defendant.

The trial is expected to last 6 to 8 weeks. That means Trump will face trial for the next two months when the courts are in session during the day, and then be free to campaign when the courts aren’t in session — typically at night, Wednesdays and weekends.

​ But the court also provides Trump with a powerful platform to communicate with his supporters. Over the next few weeks, the corridor outside the courthouse will become home to television and newspaper reporters. Trump, a former reality TV star with a knack for media, will have plenty of time to defend himself publicly while spreading his campaign message.

However, Judge Juan Merchan has issued a gag order prohibiting the former president from commenting on jurors, prosecutors and potential witnesses on the grounds that it could put their safety at risk. If Trump violates the order, he risks fines and even jail time.

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