Trump NY Criminal Trial: Opening Statements Day!

The first official day of Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York is officially over – early, due to Passover and an alternate juror having a dental emergency. Although a short day, they covered a lot of ground.

First, the Sandoval Hearing. This is what the judge has determined is fair game if the defendant takes the stand in his or her own defense. It gives the defense an opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of having their client opened up to questioning on a variety of topics that they may not want the jury to consider. In Trump’s case, a lot got in. I suspect he will not testify.

What is NOT getting in: The Access Hollywood VIDEO.

What IS getting in: The Access Hollywood TRANSCRIPT.

Also getting IN: The NYAG civil fraud ruling, NYAG civil fraud trial gag order violations, two federal juries’ findings that he defamed E. Jean Carroll, details surrounding his agreement to dissolve the Trump Foundation.

The prosecution did not get everything they wanted in, but they got A LOT of fertile ground to cover if Trump testifies.

Ok, on to opening statements.

Prosecutors laid a pretty good foundation. Stayed right at the 45 minute mark, as expected.

This is the short version of the plan:

Then, they explained the witnesses and what they would be able to attest to. Different parts of the crime, how they were involved, what they saw and heard.

The defense opening statement did not go as well. It was peppered by numerous objections by the prosecution, many of which were actually sustained. To be clear, it is RARE for prosecutors to interject during defense opening or closing statements unless there is a blatant disregard for the rules of court.


David Pecker was the first witness and he was on the stand for just under a half hour. Basically explaining who he was, what he did, etc. Nothing major in his testimony. That will pick up tomorrow.

After court was over, Trump went to the lobby of the courthouse and definitely violated the gag order…again. I bet this comes up at the 10 AM gag order violation hearing Tuesday.

Finally, Rachel Maddow sharing her thoughts:

Tune in Tuesday for another big day! Gag order hearing at 10 and then right back into the criminal trial for more Pecker.

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