A historic court case began in New York a week ago. Donald Trump (77) is the first former president in the United States to face criminal charges. After the twelve-person jury was recently found more quickly than many expected, both the prosecution and the opposing side gave their opening statements on April 22nd.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo began his plea with the words: “This case is about a criminal conspiracy and a cover-up.” This is reported by CNN. It is a criminal plan “to corrupt the 2016 presidential election.” Trump then allegedly wanted to cover this up by lying “over and over again” in business documents. It was “purely and simply election fraud.”

The former president, who is seeking re-election, is accused of 34 counts of falsifying business documents. At the center of the allegations is, among other things, an alleged hush money payment to the porn actress Stormy Daniels (45), who claims to have had an affair with Trump. The politician is said to have transferred $130,000 to them shortly before the election in 2016.

Such an agreement would not be illegal in principle, but there were allegedly illegal bookings to possibly conceal further offenses. It was already known in advance that the public prosecutor’s office assumed that Trump wanted to hide damaging information at the time and influence the election in his favor.

The ex-president’s team rejected the allegations even before the trial began. In the opening statement, Trump’s side said that the charges were actually just “a piece of paper.” “None of this was a crime,” said Trump lawyer Todd Blanche. “There’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. That’s called democracy.”

According to him, Daniels saw the matter as an opportunity to make money. He in turn expects the twelve jurors to use “their common sense.” Trump’s side trusts that the case will be decided purely on the evidence: “If you do that, there will be a ‘not guilty’ verdict very quickly.”