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Trump’s New York hush money trial continues after sleepy start to jury selection: What to know


Jury selection is expected to continue Tuesday morning in the case of the People of the State of New York v. Donald Trump — the first criminal trial of a former president ever.

The quest to find a jury of 12 people and six alternates got off to a slow start Monday, as more than half of the 96 potential jurors summoned to the Manhattan courtroom said they couldn’t be “fair and impartial” when it comes to Trump, the polarizing New York native and former commander-in-chief.

Shortly before walking into the courtroom, Trump told reporters he had done nothing wrong and attacked Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the trial, as “Trump-hating judge.” He also complained that the case is keeping him off the presidential trail: “I should be, right now, in Pennsylvania, in Florida, in many other states.”

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, is required to be in attendance for the trial, which is projected to last six to eight weeks. He has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to a porn star during the closing days of the 2016 presidential election. The low-level felony is punishable by up to four years in prison.

politics political politician
In this courtroom sketch, former President Donald Trump smiles to the jury pool as he is introduced to them at the beginning of his trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, on April 15, 2024.Jane Rosenberg / Pool via AP

Trump complained after court Monday that Merchan wouldn’t let him skip court May 17 to attend his son’s high school graduation, though Merchan has yet to actually rule on the request, saying he would do so later.

Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche also asked whether Trump could be excused on April 25, the date the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear his arguments about presidential immunity stemming from the federal election interference case against him. Merchan rejected that request after Blanche told him, “We shouldn’t be here at all right now.”

“You don’t believe you should be here right now?” the outraged judge responded. “He’s required to be here. He’s not required to be at the Supreme Court.”

The issues were some of the several raised by lawyers for both sides in court Monday that resulted in the jury selection process not beginning until the afternoon. Only nine potential jurors answered questions from Merchan’s 42-question form — which included several questions about their political affiliations and views about Trump himself — before the end of the court day.

Trump’s eyes were closed during part of Monday’s proceedings when Merchan was reading the potential jurors his instructions — creating speculation about whether he was asleep or just deep in thought.

The remaining jurors from the first pool will continue answering questions Tuesday morning before prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office and Trump’s attorneys ask follow-up questions.

After that, they’ll move on to the next pool of 96. Merchan has estimated the process will take one to two weeks.


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