Most Americans believe Trump isn’t being treated the same as other criminal defendants

Only 13 per cent believe he is being treated ‘about the same’ as other criminal defendants

Kelly Rissman
Friday 26 April 2024 17:43 BST
Donald Trump claims hush money trial is 'election interference'

The first criminal trial of a former US president is underway — and most Americans believe that Donald Trump is not being treated equally to other criminal defendants.

A poll conducted last week shows the country is decisively split over whether Mr Trump is being treated more leniently or more harshly.

Some 34 per cent say they believe the former president is being treated “more leniently” than other criminal defendants in the historic trial, according to the CNN poll on Thursday. The same percentage believe that he is being treated “more harshly”.

Only 13 per cent believe he is being treated “about the same” as other defendants.

Mr Trump is on trial in Manhattan over 34 counts of falsifying business records stemming from payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, in exchange for her silence over an alleged affair with Mr Trump.

She claims the affair took place in 2006, one year after Mr Trump married Melania Trump. The former president has pleaded not guilty and has denied that the affair ever occurred.

The new CNN poll underscores just how divided the country is politically as yet another contentious presidential election inches closer.

The survey also underscores political divisions over Mr Trump himself, who has been posting relentlessly on his social media platform, Truth Social, about his unfair treatment in the criminal case. He has branded the Manhattan prosecutors’ case a “witch hunt” and claims it is politically motivated. When he walked into the courtroom on the first day of the trial, he told reporters that the case was “an assault on America.”

However, poll respondents seemed to agree that Mr Trump has so far acted inappropriately at the trial.

Donald Trump arrives for his trial on 26 April
Donald Trump arrives for his trial on 26 April (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Some 42 per cent of respondents said they believe that his behavior during the hush money trial has been mostly “inappropriate.” Only 25 per cent think he has been mostly behaving in an “appropropriate” manner.

The poll comes after the Manhattan District Attorney’s office accused the former president of violating his gag order more than a dozen times since the trial began on 15 April.

The judgeordered that the defendant be barred from making public statements about the judge’s or DA’s office staff, and potential witnesses.

On Tuesday, the judge held a hearing on at least 10 potential gag order violations related to Mr Trump’s online posts. The judge has yet to rule on the matter, but the DA’s office suggested that Mr Trump be fined $10,000 for the alleged breach.

On Thursday, the prosecutors brought up four more potential breaches of the gag order.

A judge will hold a hearing on the new allegations next Thursday.

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