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The goal of the Trump criminal hush-money trial is to finish jury selection

The goal of the Trump criminal hush-money trial is to finish jury selection
The goal of the Trump criminal hush-money trial is to finish jury selection

On Friday, attorneys representing Donald Trump in his criminal trial are anticipated to complete the laborious process of choosing a jury that will, for the first time in American history, decide whether or not the former president is guilty of breaking the law.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys require six alternates for the trial, which is scheduled to last until May, as the jury of twelve has already been selected. On Monday, the opening remarks may begin.

Already, two jurors have been excluded from the trial. On Thursday, one jury was removed by Justice Juan Merchan on the grounds that she was intimidated by her friends’ and relatives’ knowledge that she had been selected for the trial. Another was fired when it was questioned by prosecutors if he had spoken the truth about past run-ins with the law.

Five women and seven males, mostly working in white-collar fields—two corporate lawyers, a software engineer, a speech therapist, and an English teacher—make up the jury. The majority are not native New Yorkers; they are from all across the US as well as nations like Ireland and Lebanon.

The process of choosing jurors is frequently acrimonious, with attorneys from opposing sides vying to put together a panel that will be most sympathetic to their positions.

READ ALSO: Trump pursues high spenders and presses for little donations through the hush money trial

But in this particular case—involving a controversial former president suspected of hiding a hush-money payment to a porn star just before he was elected in 2016—it has proven particularly difficult. Trump entered a not guilty plea.

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Of the four criminal prosecutions that Trump is facing, this one is the only one that is guaranteed to go to trial before the election on November 5, when the Republican candidate hopes to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden once more. His office would be unaffected by his conviction.

Almost half of the more than 200 prospective jurors who were screened—two of them on Friday alone—said they were unable to determine Trump’s guilt or innocence with objectivity. All of them came from Trump’s former hometown of Manhattan, a borough of New York City that leans Democratic.

Trump contends that Biden allies are attempting to undermine his campaign through all four of the criminal prosecutions. Concerns about harassment have been raised by his criticism of the court, prosecutors, witnesses, and their families in this case, among others, leading Merchan to impose a partial gag order.

Prosecutors have requested that Merchan punish Trump because he has pushed the boundaries of the gag order.
Trump referred to the gag order as “unfair” when he came in court on Friday since it did not stop others from criticizing him. He said, “They’re real scum,” without saying who he was referring to.

In an effort to protect jurors from harassment, Merchan has announced that they would stay nameless to everyone but Trump, his legal team, and the prosecution. The judge declared on Thursday that he would forbid media organizations from disclosing information regarding prospective jurors’ jobs.

In this instance, Trump is charged with concealing a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels by his former attorney Michael Cohen in exchange for her silence on an alleged sexual encounter that occurred ten years before to the 2016 election.

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Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney, has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying company documents. Trump has entered a not guilty plea and has denied ever having spoken to Daniels, whose actual name is Stephanie Clifford.

In each of his previous three criminal cases, Trump has entered a not guilty plea. While one accuses him of mishandling secret data after leaving office, two others claim he is attempting to reverse his defeat to Biden in the 2020 race.

Luc Cohen, Jack Queen, and Andy Sullivan reported from New York, while Noeleen Walder, Daniel Wallis, and Jonathan Oatis edited the piece. Andy Sullivan wrote the piece.

 

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