THE Donald Trump committed no crime and it’s not illegal to try to influence an election”, the former president’s lawyer said in his opening remarks on the first day of a historic criminal trial in which the tycoon is accused of trying to cover up money he gave porn star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence before the 2016 presidential election.

“Where is the crime in all that they have described to you?” Todd Blanch said, referring to prosecutors. Characterizing “pieces of paper and nothing else” the accusations, assured that Trump “he has nothing to do with them, except that he “signed them when he was in the White House, during the time he was ruling the country. It’s not a crime.”

“I’ll teach you something”Blanche continued, addressing the jury. “There is nothing illegal in trying to influence an election process. This is called democracy”, he added, emphasizing that his client is “totally innocent”.

Trump arrived earlier in court denouncing, as usual, a “witch hunt” and a “political trial” orchestrated by the White House. “It’s a very, very sad day for America,” he told reporters before entering the courtroom.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo argued at the start of the trial that the money paid by Donald Trump to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels was a violation of the law because he cheated voters in this way shortly before the 2016 election.

“This case involves a conspiracy to defraud. “The defendant, Donald Trump, orchestrated a criminal scheme to alter the 2016 presidential election,” the prosecutor told jurors. He also promised they would hear Trump work out the details of the plan in recorded conversations.

Colangelo said in his speech that Trump was involved in a conspiracy with his former lawyer Michael Cohen and publisher David Packer to cover up information that was unflattering to the then-presidential candidate and help him defeat his Democratic rival. Hillary Clinton. This included paying women who claimed to have had sexual relations with Trump, such as Stormy Daniels who was paid $130,000 at the time of other revelations about his behavior towards women.

At the start of the trial, Judge Juan Mercan ruled that prosecutors can question Trump, if he testifies, about two other cases: one involving the misleading valuation of his assets and another, defamation of author E. Jean Carroll. since she had accused him of rape. Merchan also said prosecutors can show jurors a taped conversation from a video of the TV show in which Trump made lewd comments about women — but jurors won’t see that video.

Colangelo said Trump hid the payment to Daniels, passing it off as “legal fees” for Cohen through 11 falsified invoices, 12 ledger entries and 11 forged checks. “Those were lies. There was no attorney’s fee agreement, Cohen was not paid for his services. The defendant falsified these business documents because he wanted to conceal his own and others’ criminal conduct,” he said.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying professional documents and denies having an affair with Daniels.