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Trump Trial Begins

A trial against former President Donald Trump begins today in Manhattan, with prosecutors accusing him of falsifying business records in the course of allegedly paying hush money to former adult film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, and one other woman. Trump has denied the allegations since they first surfaced in 2018. 

The case centers on a $130K payment made to Daniels by Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in 2016 in exchange for Daniels staying quiet about a supposed extramarital affair with Trump in 2006 (see timeline). Prosecutors allege Trump listed a reimbursement payment to Cohen as a legal expense in an effort to conceal its purpose. 

Trump's defense has cast Cohen—the state's key witness, who himself pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2018—as having a vendetta against Trump. Prosecutors have cast the payments as part of a broader "catch and kill" scheme by the former president's allies. 

Trump will reportedly be required to attend each day of the proceedings, which are expected to run for about six weeks. 

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