Trump Prosecution Stresses One Term Over and Over

Trump engaged in a 'conspiracy' to influence 2016 election, they say; his attorney frames it differently
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2024 2:54 PM CDT
Trump Prosecution Stresses One Term Over and Over
Donald Trump speaks to the media, as his attorney Todd Blanche, right, stands by, outside the courtroom at his trial at Manhattan state court.   (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

The charges against Donald Trump in his hush-money trial in New York do not include the word "conspiracy," but you wouldn't have known that from Monday's opening arguments. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo told the jury that the case was about a "criminal conspiracy and a coverup" involving Trump, former "fixer" Michael Cohen, and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, reports Yahoo News. Again and again, Colangelo stressed the term, referring to the trio's "overall election conspiracy" and their "coordinated, long-running conspiracy to influence the 2016 election."

  • "This could be a risk for them—conspiracy is not one of the charged crimes," writes Jonah Bromwich in the New York Times. "And this jury has at least two lawyers."
  • Indeed, Trump attorney Todd Blanche emphasized in his opening argument that Trump has not been charged with conspiracy, notes the AP. "There's nothing illegal" about what the trio did, he said. "It's not a scheme, unless a scheme means something that doesn't matter, that's not illegal."

  • Blanche also used a much different word to describe their actions. "I have a spoiler alert," he said, per the Wall Street Journal. "There's nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It's called democracy."
  • Bromwich of the Times adds more context to the "conspiracy" emphasis: Trump is accused of falsifying business records to conceal another crime, and, prior to Monday, prosecutors had not specified what crime he was alleged to have hidden. On Monday, it became clear they will be hammering "conspiracy to promote election," a state crime.
(More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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