Trump calls hush money case an ‘assault on America’ ahead of historic trial


Donald Trump described the hush money case against him as an “assault on America” as he arrived at court in New York ahead of his historic trial.

The former US president is accused of criminally altering business records to cover up a $130,000 (£104,200) payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, during his 2016 election campaign.

Ms Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who was paid $150,000 (£120,000), both claim to have had affairs with Trump.

His lawyers say the payment was meant to spare himself and his family embarrassment, not to help him win the election.

Speaking as he arrived at the Manhattan court, Trump said: “Nothing like this has ever happened before. It should never been brought.

“It’s an assault on America. An assault on our country. A country that’s failing.

“It’s an attack on a political opponent, that’s all it is. So I’m very proud to be here.”

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Pic: AP
Pic: AP

Trump then continued to attack US president Joe Biden and repeated claims that the trial is political persecution, saying: “It’s a country that’s run by an incompetent man who is very much involved in this case.”

It marks the first of four indictments against the former president to go to trial, and is the first to be held ahead of this year’s presidential election.

Trump faces two other criminal trials accusing him of trying to subvert his 2020 election loss to Mr Biden, and another that accuses him of mishandling classified information after he left the White House in 2021.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. No other former US president has ever faced criminal charges.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, said he co-ordinated with Trump on payments to Ms Daniels and to Ms McDougal.

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations in 2018 in relation to the payments and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released into house arrest after one year.

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