At the heart of the Trump trial, a system of protection against scandals constructed shortly before his 2016 election

Former porn actress Stormy Daniels – real name Stephanie Clifford – is a key figure in the trial about to open in New York on Monday April 15. Eighteen years after her brief sexual adventure with Donald Trump, she will find herself at the center of the media hullabaloo, which she has always suffered as much as maintained.

But the attention of the Manhattan prosecutor, Democrat Alvin Bragg, who is staking his reputation and credibility here, is not focused on the details of this affair. The magistrate must prove that the protection system put in place by Donald Trump against scandals, in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, is criminally reprehensible.

Indicted on thirty-four counts in early April 2023, Donald Trump faces a case full of numerous material elements and testimonies. The Republican billionaire is accused of having organized payments, through his advisor Michael Cohen, to ensure the suppression of possibly embarrassing testimonies, in particular those of women who had had sexual relations with him.

“Catch and Kill”

According to investigators, “participants violated electoral laws” and recorded false expenses in the accounts of different entities involved. The exact nature of the expenses incurred, from August 2015 to December 2017, was also concealed. But the big challenge for the prosecution will be to demonstrate Donald Trump’s desire to evade taxes or to disguise the accounts of his group, the Trump Organization.

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“Catch and Kill” : this is what the crisis stratagem used by the candidate as the election approaches is called. Catching revelations, nipping them in the bud. It was still a time when Donald Trump cared about his reputation. A new arrival on the political scene, the transgressive entrepreneur shaking up the conservative camp was on the verge of creating a huge surprise, by obtaining the Republican nomination. He was facing Hillary Clinton, the absolute incarnation of the democratic elites, without a strong political proposal but having the privilege of being the first woman to come so close to the Oval Office.

The Republican candidate’s vulnerabilities were numerous and identified long ago. The principle of a preventive shield, to protect him, would have been formalized during a meeting in August 2015. The participants were Donald Trump himself, his advisor, Michael Cohen, and David Pecker, the boss of the American Media group Inc., to which the tabloid belongs The National Enquirer. This newspaper with great resources and non-existent scruples had its own political agenda, its priorities, its stars to highlight and its targets to overwhelm.

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