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Donald Trump trial LIVE: Hush money case kicks off with opening statements and bombshell first witness David Pecker


Donald Trump‘s historic hush money trial in Manhattan kicks off on Monday with opening statements and could end with testimony from the first witness.

Prosecutors will lay out whether the 77-year-old hid a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels to cover up their alleged affair in a bid to help him win the 2016 election.

Then Trump’s legal team will tell the jury how they will defend the first former president in history to stand criminal trial.

Over the weekend it was reported that former publisher of the National Enquirer David Pecker will be the prosecution’s first witness.

He is set to testify about his magazine’s scheme to bury negative stories about Trump and publish stories criticizing his opponents.

Follow DailyMail.com’s live coverage from reporters inside the New York courtroom. 

Trump’s shoulders stooped down as he takes seat in the courtroom

Senior U.S. Political Reporter Rob Crilly reports from court:

Trump walked in at the head of his defense team, shoulders slightly stooped.

He took his seat in the front row of the court, facing a wall of 20ft high wood paneling, inscribed with ‘In God We Trust.’

One of his top campaign aides, Jason Miller, has taken a seat at the back of the court

Six rows of journalists are seated on hard wooden benches behind the defendant.

The court has a scuffed, tiled floor. And has been modified for the trial, with four large video screens.

A pool of photographers has just hurried in to take pictures of Trump,

Former President Donald Trump arrived at the New York courthouse ahead of his ongoing hush money trial as the first day featuring witness testimony is about to kick off

Former President Donald Trump has arrived at court for his ongoing hush money trial.

Shortly before entering the courtroom, he spoke to the press calling the trial ‘a witch hunt.’

‘This is a witch hunt and it’s a shame,’ Trump said.

‘I just want people to understand that this is done for purposes of hurting the opponent of the worst president in the history of our country.’

Trump entered the room just before 9:30 a.m.

Former US president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court to attend his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs in New York, on April 22, 2024. Donald Trump's unprecedented criminal trial is set for opening statements after final jury selection ended Friday, leaving the Republican presidential candidate facing weeks of hostile testimony that will overshadow his White House campaign. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Donald Trump left his Manhattan home on Monday morning and headed to court to hear opening statements in the historic hush money trial after tearing into pro-Palestinian protesters.

The former president could also be confronted with the prosecutors’ first witness, former National Enquirer publisher and friend David Pecker.

The 77-year-old waved and raised his fist to photographers and onlookers as he walked across the sidewalk from Trump Tower and got into his waiting SUV.

On Monday morning he took to Truth Social to post ‘witch hunt’ and ‘election interference’ to slam the Stormy Daniels case he says is a political prosecution.

He also asked why pro-Palestinian demonstrators were allowed to ‘roam cities’ and ‘block traffic’ while his supporters weren’t allowed to protest outside court.

He issued a rallying cry to his MAGA faithful and told them to march ‘across the country’.

Trump forced to cancel first rally since start of hush money trial

Donald Trump was ‘devastated’ on Saturday when he had to cancel his first rally since the start of the hush money trial.

The former president was set to speak to his MAGA faithful in Wilmington, North Carolina.

But a storm forced him to suspend the event. He called into the site and apologized to the thousands of fans who had shown up to watch him.

He promised to reschedule a ‘bigger and better’ event at the same location as ‘quickly as possible’.

‘Tortured jurors department’: Donald Trump mocked with Taylor Swift reference during hush money trial by former White House press secretary

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki used Taylor Swift to taunt Donald Trump over the weekend.

Psaki, who now works for MSNBC after serving under Joe Biden, posted a graphic with a court sketch from the former president’s trial with the caption: ‘Tortured Jurors Department’.

It was a spin on the title of Swift’s new album that was released last week.

Biden has been reportedly seeking Switf’s endorsement ahead of his rematch with Donald Trump.

Trump has said she would be ‘disloyal’ if he backed his rival.

Witness testimony will pause on Tuesday when the judge considers whether Donald Trump should be held in contempt for violating the gag order.

Attorneys for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said the former president should be punished for sharing a New York Post article calling Michael Cohen a ‘serial perjurer’ and ’embarrassment’ to the court system.

Another was Trump resharing a quote from Fox News host Jesse Watters saying the defense team is ‘catching undercover liberal activists lying to the judge’ to get on the jury.

Here is a recap of the accusations against him.

Friday turned into one of the most dramatic days of Donald Trump’s hush money trial.

Tragic and horrifying scenes unfolded outside the court when a man set himself on fire in a park across the street. He later died in hospital.

Inside court proceedings continued with jurors breaking down in tears and lawyers fighting over what evidence should be heard.

One prospective juror admitted to the court that she was an ex-con, and questioned if she was allowed to be considered.

Another said the whole trial was ‘more stressful than I thought’ and was sent home.

At the end of the day, prosecutors argued that Trump’s $355million fraud fine and the E. Jean Carroll sex assault defamation ruling should be heard by the jurors.

Will jurors get cold feet?

Twelve Manhattan residents have been selected to decide the fate of Donald Trump in the hush money trial.

They went through a rigorous process last week to ensure they would be impartial and fair when deciding if the former president is guilty or not guilty.

Now they have had the weekend to think over their selection, will they change their minds and tell the judge they can’t move forward with the trial.

One juror dropped out last week after she got concerned that her family and friends already knew she was on the case.

Others have also dropped out because they felt overwhelmed by the anxiety and stress surrounding the trial.

Privacy of the jurors has also been a worry.

An NYU law professor believes that David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, will provide ‘dynamite evidence’ against Donald Trump when he takes the stand on Monday morning.

It was revealed over the weekend in a New York Times report that Pecker would be the first witness called against the ex-president during his historic trial in Manhattan over allegations he participated in a hush money scheme ahead of the 2016 election.

‘Pecker could be key witness – in ways more devastating than Michael Cohen .This also indicates DA is foregrounding unlawful election influence for jurors,’ Professor Ron Goodman tweeted.

‘Pecker’s testimony should be strong proof of core allegation that the hush money scheme was geared toward influencing the outcome of the presidential election,’ he added.

Once opening statements have finished, prosecutors are set to call David Pecker as their first witness.

Pecker is a central figure in the case after he alerted Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen about Stormy Daniels and her plan to reveal her claims of an alleged affair with Trump in 2006.

Pecker alerted Trump in October 2016 of Daniel’s affair but she ultimately settled a $130,000 non-disclosure deal with Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen.

Pecker is expected to detail how he worked with Trump and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to broker deals.

Welcome to DailyMail.com’s coverage of opening statements of Donald Trump’s hush money trial

Donald Trump‘s historic hush money trial in Manhattan kicks off on Monday with opening statements and could end with testimony from the first witness.

Prosecutors will lay out whether the 77-year-old hid a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels to cover up their alleged affair in a bid to help him win the 2016 election.

Then Trump’s legal team will tell the jury how they will defend the first former president in history to stand criminal trial.

Jury selection finished on Friday with 12 members on the full panel and six alternates.

Here are some details on who they are.

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