Five most dramatic moments from first day of Trump's hush money trial

Fox News Digital compiled the most dramatic moments of former President Trump's hush money trial, including him slamming the trial as 'political persecution.'

Former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial kicked off Monday, where he faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

The historical trial began with jury selection, where a pool of more than 500 potential jurors will be peppered with questions to determine if they can fairly weigh in on the charges. 

The case revolves around payments made by Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to former pornographic actor Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. The $130,000 payment was to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with Trump in 2006. 

Trump has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty to the charges. 


Prosecutors say reimbursements from the Trump Organization to Cohen were falsely recorded as legal expenses. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor, and prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with an intent to commit or conceal a second crime, which is a felony. 

The trial overall is anticipated to last at least six weeks. 

The first day was action-packed, including Trump sounding off that the case was "political persecution."

Trump was seen leaving Trump Tower early Monday morning, heading to Manhattan Criminal Court where he addressed the press and railed against the case and its charges. 

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," Trump said at the courthouse Monday ahead of the trial officially beginning. "This is political persecution ... it's a case that should have never been brought."

"This is an assault on America and that's why I'm very proud to be here," he added. 

Trump has repeatedly slammed the trial and charges, including in Pennsylvania on Saturday, where he held his last scheduled campaign rally ahead of the trial officially beginning.

"I will be forced to sit fully gagged. I’m not allowed to talk. They want to take away my constitutional right to talk," Trump said in Pennsylvania. 

"I’m proud to do it for you," he continued, calling the trial a "communist show trial," which he claims is orchestrated by the Biden administration. "Have a good time watching." 


The district attorney's office argued Monday that Trump has violated a gag order three times in social media posts and should pay $1,000 for each violation. 

Presiding Judge Juan Merchan had imposed a gag order on Trump earlier this month that prevents him from making public statements about witnesses and their anticipated testimony in the trial. 

"The defendant is aware of the April 1 order. We know that from various posts he had made," said prosecutor Christopher Conroy before Merchan's ruling. 

"We think it is important for the court to remind Mr. Trump is a criminal defendant," Conroy added. 

Trump's legal team pushed back that the 45th president was defending himself from "salacious, repeated, vehement attacks by these witnesses."


Merchan announced he will hear arguments on whether Trump violated the order on April 23, before making a decision on the matter. The defense team has until April 19 to file a written response to the prosecutors' claims Trump violated the gag order. 

Merchan doubled down Monday on his previous decision that the jury not be shown the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, which surfaced ahead of the 2016 election and shows Trump boasting to host Billy Bush that he could kiss and grope women due to his star power. 


Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass urged the court to include evidence surrounding the video, which he said is an "admission of sexual assault" and "living proof that the defendant wasn’t all talk."

"That is more than just comments of a sexual nature," Steinglass said, adding that when the video surfaced in 2016, it threw Trump's presidential campaign into a "tailspin."

Merchan had previously denied the prosecution from showing the tape to jurors, saying in March, "it is not necessary that the tape itself be introduced into evidence or that it be played for the jury."

Trump's attorney said the video is prejudicial and should not be aired to the jurors. 

"The people will get everything they need to prove the charges in this case from what your honor has already ruled," attorney Todd Blanche said.

Prosecutors can introduce Trump's exact words from the video, as well as an email related to the tape, but Merchan said the video itself cannot be shown to jurors. 


The trial in Lower Manhattan, which will not be televised from the courtroom, attracted a massive media presence on Monday. 

Video footage shot outside the courtroom shows a long line of journalists staged in front of cameras along at least one block in the Big Apple. 

Trump's trial marks the first time a former president will stand trial on criminal charges. The hush money case is also the first of four criminal cases Trump is expected to face this year while juggling the campaign trail as the presumptive Republican Party's presidential nominee. 

Merchan on Monday told Trump it was "too early" for him to decide whether he can attend the high school graduation of his son, Barron Trump, next month, which sparked criticism from Trump as he departed the courthouse. 

"Amazing things happened today. As you know, my son is graduating from high school, and it looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation of my son who has worked very, very hard," Trump said while leaving the courthouse. 

"He's a great student, very proud of the fact that he did so well and was looking forward for years to have graduation with his mother and father there. It looks like the judge isn't going to allow me to escape this scam. It's a scam trial," he continued. 

Trump's defense team had asked the judge for a few scheduling exceptions, including a few days over Passover, as well as his son's high school graduation on May 17.

"It really depends on if we are on time and where we are in the trial," Merchan said Monday.

Trump, in his remarks leaving the courthouse, also railed that he will not be permitted to travel to Washington, D.C., next week, when the Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding whether Trump is immune from prosecution in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case. 

"In addition, as you know, next Thursday, we're before the United States Supreme Court in a very big hearing on immunity. And this is something that we've been waiting for a long time. And the judge, of course, is not going to allow us, he is a very conflicted judge, and he's not going to allow us to go to that," he said. 

The hush money case will resume Tuesday morning with continued jury selection. 

Fox News Digital's Brianna Herlihy and Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report. 

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