What charges, punishments Donald Trump is facing in Alvin Bragg's case against him, set to start April 15

The trial will begin with jury selection on Monday.


Former President Donald Trump is set to stand trial in Manhattan on Monday, facing 34 felony counts brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Bragg has elevated what are actually misdemeanor charges to the level of a felony, claiming that the misdeanors were committed in service to a greater crime. Bragg has not said what the felony crime is, though he's charged Trump with 34 Class E felonies

Bragg alleges that Trump falsifed business records during his 2016 campaign when he classified payments made to his attorney Michael Cohen as legal fees. Bragg contends that Cohen then used those funds to pay off media companies to kill a story about a porn star with whom Trump is alleged of having an affair.

Hillary Clinton was charged with the same crime of falsifying business records, though in her case the "legal fees" were used to pay off an opposition research firm for creating the Steele Dossier, which alleged that Trump had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Clinton was fined $8,000.

"According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, from August 2015 to December 2017, TRUMP orchestrated his “catch and kill” scheme through a series of payments that he then concealed through months of false business entries," Bragg's indictment reads. This means that the payments Bragg alleged were made by Cohen were paid to media companies to kill the story.

Prosecutors allege that Trump had his then-lawyer Michael Cohen pay Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about the alleged affair with Trump prior to his days in politics. It is claimed that Trump reimbursed Cohen through installment payments processed by his business, disguised as corporate legal expenses, violating New York law, according to the Daily Mail.

Of the 34 counts, 11 are related to the checks issued to Cohen, another 11 stem from the monthly invoices Cohen sent to Trump's company, and 12 are associated with entries in Trump's trust's general ledger. This means that the 34 counts represent multiple charges for the same funds.

This trial marks a historic moment as it is the first criminal trial of a former US President. The proceedings will commence with jury selection overseen by Judge Juan Merchan, who faced controversy after it was revealed his daughter was a vocal opponent of the former President and even took money from Democrats to engage in marketing over the Russia collusion hoax.

On Friday, Trump commented on the trial from his Mar-a-Lago home, stating that jury selection is “largely luck.”

The trial is anticipated to last six weeks to two months, with the court setting every weekday aside except Wednesdays. The trial will not be televised, but five photographers will be allowed in the courtroom.

Key witnesses expected to testify for the prosecution include both Daniels and Cohen. Trump has stated that he “absolutely” intends to testify in his own defense. Former Trump aides, including Hope Hicks, could also be called upon to testify.

Were Trump to be convicted, the former President could face a sentence of up to four years in prison for each separate charge, totaling 136 years. Because it is a state crime in New York, only Governor Kathy Hochul would have the authority to pardon him.

It is uncertain what sentence the former President could be given should he be convicted. In New York, most non-violent, first-time offenders are sentenced to probation. Trump could also be subject to house arrest at his home in Mar-a-Lago.

Prosecutor Alvin Bragg has been a pioneer of criminal justice reform, going as far as to release violent offenders and recidivists without bail.

In response to his upcoming trial, Trump posted on Truth Social on Sunday morning that Judge Merchan only gave the former President's team a short period of time to "read and study hundreds of thousands of pages of documents that D.A. Alvin Bragg illegally hid, disguised, and held back." This was in reference to numerous documents prosecutors produced in March for the trial but determined that most were "largely irrelevant" to the case.

"They could have started this Fake Biden Trial many years ago, not right in the middle of my campaign for President, and time would not be a problem. This is a blatant and unprecedented attack on Crooked Joe Biden’s Political Opponent (who is leading in every poll!), done in close coordination with the White House, that cannot be allowed to go forward!" Trump said.

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