Donald Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Finally Begins

The hush money trial of former President Trump begins Monday with jury selection.Jeenah Moon/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.So, here we are. 
The first day of the first criminal trial of a former US president. Can it get more extraordinary than that? “He keeps setting new Guinness Records in terms of unprecedented history,” Mother Jones’ own David Corn explained in a new video outside a Manhattan courtroom where Donald Trump’s trial kicked off this morning.
Which case is this again? Good question. This one alleges that Trump falsified business records related to the hush-money scandal involving Stormy Daniels. As David explained in a curtain-raiser, the trial, though salacious in nature, is a very fitting symbol for Trump’s political rise and should be taken seriously.
“He is a creature of this trashy, celebrity, tabloid culture,” Corn says. “And that’s all going to be on display here in the next couple of weeks.”

Trump pleaded not guilty to the 34 felony counts last month. Less than a day before Monday’s trial was set to begin, the former president attacked the presiding judge again on his social media platform, Truth Social, calling today’s proceedings a “Fake Biden Trial.” As my colleague Julianne McShane recounted, Judge Juan Merchan already hit Trump with a gag order for similar statements about potential trial witnesses last month. The gag order was then extended in April.
With four indictments, 88 counts, and a seemingly endless stream of social media posts, it might be easy to write off the Stormy Daniels trial as celebrity fodder. But don’t forget this is truly—and you’ll hear this word a lot—unprecedented.