NYC Prosecutors’ Opening Against Trump Was ‘Tight’ & ‘Practiced,’ Legal Expert Says

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On Monday, the criminal trial in New York City against former President Donald Trump on allegations of falsifying business records reached its opening statements. Prosecutors went first, delivering an accounting of the case that legal analyst Lisa Rubin of MSNBC characterized as “tight” and “practiced.”

“Opening statements in the Trump criminal trial are now over. The DA’s opening was tight, practiced, and mostly chronological before they doubled back to cover perceived vulnerabilities of the case. But the defense’s opening drew objections that were sustained,” Rubin said on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter.

One of the sustained objections amid the Trump team’s opening was spurred by a lawyer for the former president trying to invoke the idea that Trump, amid his involvement in the real-world schemes spurring these allegations of criminality, was effectively leaning on his lawyers. “But that argument — a sort of “advice of counsel” lite — was already rejected by the court on the legal bases that Sam Bankman Fried was largely precluded from doing the same,” Rubin added via that site.

The ultimate test for the strength of the opening statements combined with subsequent questioning of witnesses and the rest of the trial will, of course, be the jury’s eventual decision. Trump is compelled to attend these proceedings in light of their specifically criminal nature (as opposed to the range of civil proceedings that he’s faced recently), so he’s hearing these arguments against him firsthand at his first criminal trial among what’s expected to be four.

Besides the core of the trial, there’s also a hearing this week to go over allegations from prosecutors that Trump violated a gag order imposed on him in this case. Trump must attend that too, with the prosecution seeking financial penalties while detention will remain a possibility for future violations.