High Stakes as Trump Trial Begins

THIS WEEKEND’S TALK SHOWS will focus on the first felony case ever brought against a former president in a trial that will be filled with slippery characters and sensational allegations — but will most Americans simply shrug it off? With Donald Trump almost exactly tied in polls with Joe Biden, the stakes are high.

TRUMP CONTINUES TO DOMINATE THE NEWS: He will meet with House Speaker Mike Johnson today at Mar-a-Lago, with both eager to align against the incendiary Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Trump is in the middle of fight over abortion policy. He’s basically running the House agenda.

AND NEXT WEEK HE WILL HEAD to a New York courtroom for an epic battle over hush money payments to a porn actress.

TRUMP IS A MASTER OF DELAYS AND APPEALS, but he has run out of options in this trial, which begins with jury selection on Monday before the New York Supreme Court that will focus on allegations that Trump falsified business records as part of a scheme to conceal a $130,000 hush money payment in 2016 to porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she had a brief affair with Trump years earlier.

AS OTHER TRIALS AGAINST TRUMP DRAG ON, perhaps until 2025 — and a potential pardon — this case may be the only one of Trump’s 88 criminal charges in four separate cases to make it to trial before the Nov. 5 presidential election.

IN THE TRIAL that begins on Monday, Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, in an attempt to avoid damaging publicity ahead of the 2016 election.

A KEY WITNESS WILL BE MICHAEL COHEN, Trump’s former personal attorney (and a convicted felon). He will say Trump directed him to make payments to two women. Other witnesses will include Stormy Daniels, former White House aide Hope Hicks, and and possibly Trump himself, making his case that this is a witch hunt.

THE TRIAL IS EXPECTED TO LAST for several weeks, with the threat of a gag order against Trump hanging over the proceedings. Most legal experts say that if Trump is found guilty, he could face a few weeks in jail (after an exhaustive appeals process).

BOTTOM LINE: At the least, this will be compelling theater. At the most, Trump could be found guilty and face a brief prison term (which would not preclude him from running for the presidency). Our bottom line is that the public eventually will get tired of this trial, but that isn’t necessarily a plus for Trump. If the public gets sick of this, it may get sick of Trump as well.

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