opening statement

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

A statement made by an attorney or self-represented party at the beginning of a trial before evidence is introduced. The opening statement outlines the party's legal position and previews the evidence that will be introduced later. The purpose of an opening statement is to familiarize the jury with what it will hear -- and why it will hear it -- not to present an argument as to why the speaker's side should win; that comes after all evidence is presented as part of the closing argument.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.