The Latest | Jury selection in Trump’s hush money trial stretches into 2nd day with more dismissals

0
11

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump returned Tuesday to a New York courtroom as the jury selection process in his historic hush money trial enters a second day. The former president and presumptive GOP nominee began the day by railing against the trial and complaining about a gag order that bars him from from publicly commenting on jurors, potential witness and others related to his criminal cases.

“This conflicted, Trump Hating Judge won’t let me respond to people that are on TV lying and spewing hate all day long,” he wrote on his Truth Social network. “He is running rough shod over my lawyers and legal team.”

The first day of Trump’s Manhattan trial ended on Monday with no one picked to sit on the 12-person jury or as one of six alternates. Dozens of people were dismissed after saying they didn’t believe they could be fair, but a second batch of about 100 prospective jurors have yet to be questioned.

The criminal trial is the first of any former U.S. commander-in-chief and also the first of Trump’s four indictments to go to trial.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he feared could hurt his 2016 campaign.

The allegations focus on payoffs to two women, porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had extramarital sexual encounters with Trump years earlier, as well as to a Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about a child he alleged Trump had out of wedlock. Trump says none of these supposed sexual encounters occurred.

Currently:

— Here’s what happened yesterday on the first day of Trump’s historic hush money trial

— Only 1 in 3 US adults think Trump acted illegally in New York hush money case, AP-NORC poll shows

— Trump trial: Why can’t Americans see or hear what is going on inside the courtroom?

— Donald Trump brings his campaign to the courthouse as his criminal hush money trial begins

Here’s the latest:

MORE POTENTIAL JURORS EXCUSED, BUT NOT EVERYONE

In the interest of saving time as jury selection in Donald Trump’s trial stretched into its second day Tuesday, Judge Juan M. Merchan asked prospective jurors to raise concerns about their ability to serve before completely filling out the entire questionnaire.

A number of potential jurors were dismissed before noon Tuesday, including an Upper East Sider who works at a financial services firm and worried that spending four days a week in court, for an estimated six weeks, would load him down with work at night.

But not everyone who voiced concerns is being dismissed outright. One Upper West Side resident who works for a senior living company said she has her own court date April 30.

“We can work around that,” Merchan said.

The former president jotted down notes and raised sheets of paper to his face as jurors rattle off answers to the lengthy questionnaire.

After one prospective juror said she would be unable to serve impartially, the former president twisted in his chair, looking in the direction of the box.

PROSECUTORS WANT TRUMP FINED, ADMONISHED OVER TRUTH SOCIAL POSTS

Following up on a request made in court Monday, prosecutors in Donald Trump’s hush money case filed court documents outlining why they believe he should be fined $3,000 for violating a gag order barring him from disparaging prosecution witnesses.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office highlighted three social media posts from Trump on Truth Social that name Michael Cohen and/or Stormy Daniels — in one case calling them “two sleaze bags who have, with their lies and misrepresentations, cost our Country dearly” — saying he should be fined a thousand dollars for each post, admonished and ordered to take the posts down.

“It is absolutely critical that defendant immediately halt any conduct that would violate the April 1 order’s narrow restrictions to protect the integrity of the ongoing trial,” the filing reads.

Judge Juan M. Merchan has set a hearing on the matter for April 23.

POOL OF POTENTIAL JURORS PARED DOWN WITH MORE DISMISSALS

The initial group of 96 prospective jurors in Donald Trump’s hush money case was reduced to just 30 on Tuesday morning after Judge Juan M. Merchan announced that he had excused one potential juror who was due to answer the questionnaire had come down with flu-like symptoms.

He said she duly showed up in a mask, but said she didn’t feel well enough to go ahead with the day.

Another prospective juror — a partner in an accounting firm — was also excused after saying he feared his ability to be impartial could be compromised by “unconscious bias” from growing up in Texas and working in the finance world with people who “intellectually tend to slant Republican.”

“A bunch of family and friends are Republicans, it’s probably going to be tough to be impartial,” he said.

A second group of about 100 prospective jurors has yet to be questioned.

TRUMP BEGINS SECOND DAY OF TRIAL RAILING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Former president and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump started Tuesday complaining about his hush money trial, calling it “AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA!” and railing about a gag order that bars him from publicly commenting on the cases’ jurors, potential witness and others.

“This conflicted, Trump Hating Judge won’t let me respond to people that are on TV lying and spewing hate all day long,” he wrote on his Truth Social network. “He is running rough shod over my lawyers and legal team.“

“I want to speak, or at least be able respond,” he went on, demanding the order be lifted. “Election Interference! RIGGED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL TRIAL! Take off the Gag Order!!!”

On his way into the courtroom, Trump stopped briefly to address a TV camera stationed in a hallway and denounced the proceeding and the judge.

“This is a trial that should have never been brought,” he said. “’I was paying a lawyer and marked it down as a legal expense … and you get indicted over that?”

Judge Juan M. Merchan will hold a hearing on April 23 over the prosecution’s assertion that Trump violated the gag order when he disparaged prosecution witnesses Cohen and Daniels as “ two sleaze bags,” circulated an earlier statement from Daniels and lashed out at what he claimed was a double standard by prosecutors.

Source: post