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Month: April 2024

Chicago Criminal Attorney Questions the Helpfulness of McDougal Evidence in Hush Money Trial

Today David Pecker testified to the jury regarding former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Mr. Pecker described buying Ms. McDougal’s story for $150,000 and disguising the payment as a deal for other services, effectively concealing what may have been an illegal donation to Mr. Trump’s campaign. Under questioning from prosecutors, Mr. Pecker acknowledged that this type of arrangement — in which a corporation was spending money to influence the election — was unlawful.

“Pecker’s testimony gives jurors an alternate theory for why Trump participated in a “catch and kill” transaction – for personal rather than campaign benefit. It is also unclear how the law will support a conviction where the alleged underlying conduct  complained of is not criminal in nature,” said John Heiderscheidt.

Chicago Criminal Attorney John Heiderscheidt Comments on Opening Statements in Trump Hush Money Trial

The opening statements for the trial concerning former President Donald Trump and the 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels have begun. 

The State spoke for almost ten minutes longer than the Defense. At issue in the case is whether Trump’s payments to Stormy Daniels through Lawyer Michael Cohen were legal expenses or unlawful campaign contributions. The Southern District of New York declined to prosecute this case while Trump was President, though CNN legal analysts offered opinions qualifying why that may have been. 

One major question to be answered is whether Trump will testify. The Judge made preliminary evidentiary rulings that will help the State’s cross examination of Trump should he testify in his own defense. Trump predictably blasted the motives of the prosecutor and decried the underpinnings of the case as a hoax. 

“I don’t envy the position Trump’s lawyers face,” said John Heiderscheidt, a Chicago Criminal Attorney. “At heart this will come down to the jury’s analysis of intent. Do you put him on and risk all the negatives from the civil rape and fraud cases on cross? Or do you just say they can’t make their burden because Michael Cohen is a liar and hope the jury overlooks his non-testimony? It is a very close strategy call, made more difficult by the prejudicial material the Judge would admit on cross examination.” 

The State’s first witness took the stand for approximately 30 minutes, but testimony was cut short due to an alternate juror’s dental appointment. The parties expect trial to last several weeks. 

Migrant Evictions in Chicago

Chicago has recently been grappling with the eviction of migrants from city and state-operated shelters. These are just the latest challenges migrants are facing. This situation raises serious questions about the future of these individuals and the city’s capacity to handle this crisis.

In an attempt to control the influx of migrants, City officials introduced a policy limiting shelter stays to 60 days. After this period, migrants are required to find other housing or apply for another shelter at the city’s “landing zone” for new arrivals. This policy was enforced after several delays, including bad weather and staffing issues, and the city began evicting migrants from shelters in March. Officials estimate that 2,026 migrants will be evicted from shelters by the end of April.

Migrants have been coming to Chicago since August 2022 as part of a busing strategy initiated by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Chicago, along with New York City and Denver, has struggled to meet the demand for housing and social services due to the influx of migrants.

The migrant shelter evictions in Chicago highlight the complexities of managing migration in urban areas. While the city struggles with this issue, the migrants who came in search of a better life now face an uncertain future in the city they hoped to call home.


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