Jury Selection Takes Place In Trump Case

Former President Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial entered its second day of jury selection on Tuesday after half of the prospective jurors were excused on Monday for expressing their inability to be impartial towards the defendant. Trump is facing 34 charges of falsifying business records in the first degree, related to alleged hush money payments made before the 2016 presidential election. The former president has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

The presiding judge, Judge Juan Merchan, is overseeing the trial despite Trump’s request to have him recuse himself due to his alleged hostility towards the former president and his daughter’s work with Democrat politicians. In response to this, Judge Merchan stated that there was “no basis” for him to step down and reminded Trump that he has a right to be present every day of the trial to assist in his defense.

More than 50 of the original 96 prospective jurors were excused almost immediately on Monday, with several others being excused due to other issues. The remaining jurors were asked to answer 42 questions from a questionnaire that covered their work history, political affiliation, and media preferences. The court day ended with Judge Merchan rejecting a defense request for Trump to be excused from the trial on Thursday, April 25th to attend a hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump’s attorneys also requested him to be excused from attending his son’s high school graduation on May 17th, but Judge Merchan has not yet decided on this matter. The judge did, however, warn Trump that if he disrupts the proceedings in any way, he could be held in contempt and removed from the court. Merchan also stated that if Trump is required to be present and fails to do so, a warrant would be issued for his arrest.

Despite Trump’s claims that the trial is a “scam” and a “political witch hunt,” the proceedings continue in the New York Supreme Court and are expected to last for approximately six weeks. The trial will not meet on Wednesdays and will not meet on Monday, April 29th. Meanwhile, Trump is facing a gag order from the court, which prohibits him from making public statements about witnesses, jurors, or court staff on social media.

Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office argued that Trump had violated the gag order on three separate occasions on social media and should be fined $3,000 for each violation. Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, argued that the posts in question did not violate the order as Trump was responding to “salacious, repeated, vehement attacks by these witnesses.” The judge will hear arguments on this matter on April 23rd.

The charges against Trump were brought by Bragg’s predecessor, who alleged that the former president “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.” The DA said that Trump intended to defraud by committing another crime. However, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York chose not to charge Trump, and the Federal Election Commission has also dropped its investigation into the matter.

The trial continues to draw attention as Trump’s supporters and critics closely follow the proceedings. While the former president maintains his innocence and calls the trial a politically motivated attack, the prosecution argues that Trump’s actions were illegal and intended to deceive the public during the 2016 election. With the high-profile nature of the case and the potential impact it could have on the political landscape, all eyes will be on the courtroom as the trial unfolds.


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