Donald Trump has lashed out on Truth Social on the morning he makes history by becoming the first former American president to face a criminal trial, calling for the New York hush money case against him to be dropped and once more claiming without evidence that the indictments he faces are part of a plot by “Radical Left Democrats” to prevent him from campaigning for the presidency.

The presumptive Republican nominee to take on Joe Biden in November’s election is due in court in today for the start of a trial brought about by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg charging him with 34 felony counts relating to the falsification of business records in order to conceal a “hush money” payment made to the porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election to ensure her silence over an extramarital affair she alleges she had with the businessman a decade earlier.

Mr Trump denies the affair and any wrongdoing in the case after being hit with 34 felony charges by Mr Bragg.

Writing on his social media platform on Monday morning, the candidate claimed in a post: “As virtually every legal scholar has powerfully stated, the Biden Manhattan Witch Hunt Case is, among other things, BARRED by the Statute of Limitations. This ‘trial’ should be ended by the highly conflicted presiding Judge.”

In a follow-up post, he added: “The Radical Left Democrats are already cheating on the 2024 Presidential Election by bringing, or helping to bring, all of these bogus lawsuits against me, thereby forcing me to sit in courthouses, and spend money that could be used for campaigning, instead of being out in the field knocking Crooked Joe Biden, the WORST President in the History of the United States. Election Interference!”

After a third, less characteristic post in which he pointed to the absurdity of Russia calling for restraint from Israel in response to the drone attack from Iran it suffered over the weekend, Mr Trump return to his own plight, asking: “Why didn’t they bring this totally discredited lawsuit 7 years ago??? Election Interference!”

In a fifth post, he bemoaned the gag order imposed on him by Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over today’s trial, after the defendant attacked Judge Merchan, Mr Bragg and even the justice’s own daughter on social media.

“I want my VOICE back. This Crooked Judge has GAGGED me. Unconstitutional! The other side can talk about me, but I am not allowed to talk about them! Rigged Trial!”

Mr Trump was actually picking up where he had left off on Sunday evening.

“Just four years ago I was a very popular and successful President of the United States, getting more votes than any sitting President in history,” he lamented on the eve of the trial.

“Tomorrow morning I’ll be in Criminal Court, before a totally conflicted Judge, a Corrupt Prosecutor, a Legal System in CHAOS, a State being overrun by violent crime and corruption, and Crooked Joe Biden’s henchmen ‘Rigging the System’ against his Political Opponent, ME!

“I will be fighting for myself but, much more importantly, I will be fighting for our Country,” he added, before baselessly accusing Mr Bragg of “election interference.”

Lawyers for the prosecution in the hush money case are expected to allege that Mr Trump paid the money to Ms Daniels in order to stop her coming forward with her allegation against him in October 2016, which could have discredited him in the eyes of the electorate as he ran for the White House against Hillary Clinton, hence his desire to deflect an “election interference” accusation against the justice system before it can be levelled against him.

Ms Daniels, former Playboy model Karen McDougal, Mr Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, ex-campaign aide Hope Hicks and perhaps even Mr Trump himself could all be compelled to appear as witnesses in what promises to be a sensational multi-week trial in Manhattan.

The proceedings will begin on Monday morning after Judge Merchan batted away numerous attempts by the defendant’s lawyers to have the case thrown out or delayed, with jury selection the first order of business.

Should Mr Trump ultimately be found guilty, he could theoretically face more than a decade in prison.

The maximum sentence for each felony count against him is four years in prison, which would add up to 136 years behind bars, but New York imposes a 20-year sentencing cap for this type of offence, with a decision on whether the sentences run concurrently or consecutively left up to the judge.

Given that Mr Trump also has no prior criminal record and the crimes of which he stands accused are non-violent in nature, Judge Juan Merchan could ultimately incline towards leniency and only sentence him to a fraction of the maximum jail time allowed or simply choose to place him on probation.

Mr Trump’s legal team have also attempted to argue that “presidential immunity” shields his “official acts” from prosecution but have so far failed to convince the judge, although the matter is set to be considered by the US Supreme Court later this month.

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