Judge Upholds Major Objections By Prosecutors To Trump Team’s Opening Arguments At Trial

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During the Trump defense team’s opening statements at the former president’s criminal trial in Manhattan this Monday, there reportedly were multiple objections from the prosecution upheld by the judge, effectively squashing the contested portions of the Trump team’s arguments.

Multiple reported objections from the prosecution targeted claims from the Trump team about Stormy Daniels, a woman who allegedly had an affair with the now former president and whose pre-2016 election hush money spurred some of the backdrop of this criminal case. Trump is specifically accused of falsifying business records that related to repayments for the source of that money, Trump’s ex-“fixer” Michael Cohen. Prosecutors tie the whole thing to alleged ambitions of impacting the 2016 presidential race, amid which initial circumstances unfolded.

At one point, Trump’s lawyer reportedly told the jury in court on Monday: “I expect that you will learn that when Ms Daniels threatened to go public with her false claim about a sexual encounter, it was almost an effort to extort President Trump,” spurring an upheld objection. Per a recounting from journalist Ben Kochman, Trump’s lawyer pivoted after the objection, apparently dropping the suggestion that Daniels perpetrated an extortion attempt — a serious accusation.

Journalist Rob Crilly said the issue came up repeatedly. “Todd Blanche, in the defense opening statement, has twice tried to suggest Stormy Daniels was trying to extort Trump over false affair claims. Prosecution has objected twice. Judge has sustained,” he wrote on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter.

Proceedings stopped early Monday afternoon. Trump, to be clear, was personally present for all of this, as his attendance is compelled because of the specifically criminal nature of the proceedings, putting the case in contrast with the recent rounds of civil litigation that he’s faced. It’s the first time for this, with the proceedings constituting Trump’s first criminal trial among what’s expected to be four.