How the Legal and Political Worlds Shape Trump’s Criminal Trial

Understanding the strategies at play

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg inherited a yearslong grand jury investigating whether former President Donald Trump, as a presidential candidate in 2016, paid to cover up an alleged 2006 affair that could have damaged his campaign.

Should the criminal charges not be dismissed, Trump’s pending trial for breaking the law will be determined by the court’s legal framework and the public’s attitude. The legal procedures are demarcated and should be independent of public opinion.

The prosecution will lean heavily on facts based on the witnesses’ knowledge. He will appeal to the jurists based on weighing evidence to enforce the principle that all citizens, even a former president, are equal before the law.

The defense will attack the witnesses’ reliability to provide unbiased, verifiable evidence. That effort began outside the courtroom and before the trial started. Citizens on the jury will be influenced by what they learn from the media. Despite the prosecutor and defense rejections of prejudiced potential jurists, all jurors will have some image of the accused to guide their decisions.

Trump has begun establishing his image as a victim of a political conspiracy by Democrats to stop him from being the Republican presidential candidate. While that accusation cannot be proven in court, it could undermine the legitimacy of the prosecution’s witnesses and even the prosecutor and the judge in the minds of the jurists.

The defense just needs one jurist to have a reasonable doubt as to whether Trump intended to hide criminal behavior. The jury is hung if that individual disagrees with the other jurors on guilt. No decision is reached, and although Trump is not found innocent, neither was he found guilty. The case could be retried, but that isn’t certain.

To get a complete picture of the legal and political elements of Trump’s current court case, it is best to do a Q&A on them.

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Nick Licata,