Expert: Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial

Published: 24 April 2024

In New York, former U.S. President Donald Trump is standing trial on felony charges linked to hush money payments made to an adult film actress prior to the 2016 election. The historic criminal trial, the first of its kind involving a former American president, unfolds against the backdrop of the 2024 presidential race. 

Here is an expert from McGill University who can comment on this topic: 

Jason Opal, Full Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies 

“Beyond its historic nature as the first ever criminal trial involving a past U.S. President, the hush money case is bad news for Trump. First and most obviously, he cannot control the time or schedule of the court, and this undermines his Alpha-male persona. Second, the tawdry details of the case, and the sheer fact that he is in legal jeopardy, will not play well with the moderate/conservative voters in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Phoenix, Ann Arbor, and other crucial spots in swing states. He still has a 50/50 chance of re-election, and perhaps even a slight edge because of the electoral map, but Trump wants this trial over and forgotten as quickly as possible.” 

Jason Opal is a Full Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies and Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) of the Faculty of Arts. He teaches and writes about the U.S. Constitution in different periods of American history. His work sheds light on such topics as nationalism, capitalism, democracy and U.S.-Canada foreign relations.  

jason.opal [at] (English, French)  

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