Prosecutor Paints Trump Manhattan Case As ‘Election Conspiracy’ During Opening Statement

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Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo argued during opening statements Monday that former President Donald Trump sought to “corrupt” the 2016 election through hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, according to multiple reports.

Colangelo laid out the case behind Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s 34 count indictment against the former president for allegedly falsifying business records relating to $130,000 his former attorney, Michael Cohen, allegedly gave Daniels to keep her quiet about her claims of an affair. Pointing to three “catch and kill” deals Trump allegedly organized with Cohen and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker to prevent damaging stories from getting out, Colangelo argued the payments were part of a “conspiracy” to influence the 2016 election, according to The New York Times.

“It was election fraud, pure and simple,” Colangelo said, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: Here Is What We Know About The Twelve Jurors Selected For Trump Trial)

Bragg hired Colangelo, a former senior official in the Biden Department of Justice, as senior counsel to the District Attorney in December 2022.

Trump pleaded not guilty to the 34 count indictment last April.

“The defendant, Donald Trump, orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election,” Colangelo said, according to CNN. “Then he covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again.”

Colangelo explained that the first deal involved a former Trump Tower doorman who falsely claimed Trump fathered a child out of wedlock, according to multiple reports. The second dealt with Karen McDougal’s claims that she had an affair with Trump. The third involved Stormy Daniels’ claims.

Colangelo argued that Trump’s method of repaying Cohen, which he said involved writing that Cohen was being paid for “legal expenses,” shows “just how important it was to him to hide the true nature of Cohen’s illegal payment to Ms. Daniels and the overall election conspiracy that they had launched,” according to the NYT.

“When it came time to pay Michael Cohen back for the catch and kill deal, you’ll see he didn’t negotiate it down,” Colangelo said, according to NBC News. “He doubled it.”

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