More potential jurors dismissed as secret Trump trial enters second day – The Associated Press

More potential jurors dismissed as secret Trump trial enters second day – The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — More potential jurors were dismissed Tuesday from Donald Trump’s election. Shh, money matter as lawyers worked for a second day to find a panel of New Yorkers to decide whether the Republican would become the first former president convicted of a crime.

Potential jurors were questioned for hours about their opinions on Trump and other issues, and eight people were excused after saying they could not be impartial or because they had other commitments. Several people said they believed they could decide the case fairly, regardless of their feelings about Trump or his policies as president.

What you need to know about Trump’s secret trial:

No jurors had been chosen as of midday Tuesday and dozens more people could still be questioned.

This methodical process – which could take several more days or even weeks – highlights the unprecedented challenge of finding people who can fairly judge the polarizing defendant, who has presented himself as a victim of political persecution while he is fighting to win back the White House.

The first day of Donald Trump’s historic secret trial ended Monday after hours of pretrial motions and an early jury selection process that saw dozens of potential jurors excused after saying they could not be fair or impartial.

The trial, which began Monday, puts Trump’s legal troubles at the center of the hotly contested race against President Joe Biden. It also represents a major test for the criminal justice system, as the allegations are viewed through a partisan lens and Trump’s attacks on prosecutors and the judge threaten to undermine public confidence in the courts.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass took Trump’s notoriety head on, telling prospective jurors that lawyers weren’t looking for people who had been “living under a rock for eight years.” They just had to keep an open mind.

“This case has nothing to do with your personal politics…this is not a referendum on the Trump presidency or a popularity contest or who you are going to vote for in November. We don’t care. This case is about whether this man broke the law,” he said.

Trump has pleaded not guilty has 34 counts falsification of commercial documents part of an alleged effort to prevent salacious – and, he says, false – stories about his sex life from emerging during his 2016 campaign.

This is the first of four Trump criminal cases go to trial, and he could be the only one to reach a verdict before voters decide in November whether they will elect the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

Before entering the courtroom, Trump briefly stopped to speak to a television camera in the hallway, repeating his assertion that the judge was biased against him and that the case was politically motivated .

“This is a trial that should never have happened,” Trump said. After entering, reporters saw him wink at one of the court officials and say, “How are you?” as he walked down the aisle. Trump then took a seat at the defense table with his lawyers.

With the trial expected to last six weeks or more, several members of the jury discussed their plans for Memorial Day and beyond. A parent was excused Monday due to a child’s wedding in late June. Another person was fired Tuesday because of a trip they had planned.

A man was excused after saying he feared his ability to be impartial was compromised by “unconscious bias” from growing up in Texas and working in finance with people who “intellectually tend to be republicans.”

“I’m not sure I can say beyond a reasonable doubt that I can be fair,” another potential juror told the judge. “I can try. But I’m not 100% sure I can be fair. She was also fired.

A woman who said she disagreed with Trump’s policies — and sometimes felt frustrated by him — pledged to be fair and impartial, telling defense attorney Todd Blanche that she would “do her best” if chosen to be part of the jury.

“I didn’t sleep last night thinking I could do this,” she said.

After another juror said she would not be able to serve impartially, Trump twisted in his chair, looking toward the box. During the first minutes of the day, he seemed generally attentive, taking notes and raising sheets of paper to his face as jurors rattled off answers to a lengthy questionnaire.

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings during the second day of jury selection at Manhattan Criminal Court, Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in New York.  Donald Trump returned to the courtroom Tuesday as a judge works to find a panel of jurors who will decide whether the former president is guilty of criminal charges alleging he falsified business records to conceal a 2016 campaign sex scandal. (Justin Lane/Pool photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings during the second day of jury selection at Manhattan Criminal Court, Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in New York. (Justin Lane/Pool photo via AP)

Trump smiled, nodding exaggeratedly, when another person said she had read two of the former president’s books, “The Art of the Deal” and “How to Get Rich.” The man, who said some members of his wife’s family were Republican Party lobbyists, said he didn’t think anything would stop him from reviewing the matter fairly.

“I feel like no one is above the law,” he said.

The charges relate to $130,000 in payments Trump’s company made to his then-lawyer Michael Cohen. He paid this amount on behalf of Trump to keep porn actor Stormy Daniels to go public with her claims about a sexual relationship with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied that this meeting ever took place.

Prosecutors say the payments to Cohen were falsely recorded as legal fees. Prosecutors described the money as part of a plan to bury damaging stories that Trump feared could help his opponent in the 2016 race, especially as Trump’s reputation suffered at the time. comment period. he did on women.

Trump acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment and that it was intended to prevent Daniels from going public with the alleged encounter. But Trump has already said it had nothing to do with the campaign.

More than half of the 96 people making up the first panel of potential jurors brought into the courtroom Monday were excused after telling the judge they could not be fair and impartial, and several others were dismissed for other reasons which have not been disclosed.

In court papers filed Tuesday, prosecutors urged the judge to fine Trump $3,000 for social media posts that they said violated a silence order limiting what he can say publicly about the witnesses. In those messages, Trump called Cohen and Daniels “two sleazy scumbags who, with their lies and misrepresentations, have cost our country dearly!” »

Prosecutors wrote that the judge should urge Trump to comply with the silence order and warn him that further violations could be punished not only by additional fines but also by prison time.

If convicted of falsifying business records, Trump faces up to four years in prison, although there is no guarantee he will spend time behind bars.

Trump’s cases involving allegations of election interference and hoarding classified documents could lead to lengthy prison sentences, but those cases are tied to appeals or other issues that make it increasingly unlikely they will be decided before the elections.

And if Trump wins in November, he could presumably order a new attorney general to close his federal cases.


Richer reported from Washington.


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