Donald Trump hush money trial Day 2

Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK — Donald Trump is expected to return to Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday — and for the next two months — where hundreds more New Yorkers are due to be queried about whether they can keep an open mind about his alleged hush money payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The Manhattan DA’s historic case — the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president — is the culmination of a yearslong investigation into Trump and his alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election by paying hush money to silence stories of his sexual trysts with Daniels and others.

Jury selection kicked off Monday

More than half of the first group of 96 potential jurors raised their hands shortly after proceedings got underway in Justice Juan Merchan’s courtroom Monday afternoon when asked whether they instantly felt they couldn’t be fair.

Merchan is expected to resume questioning the remaining members of the first batch and could potentially interview hundreds more before the two sides decide on a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates. None have yet been selected, and the process could take weeks.

Among the inquiries on what Merchan described as “the most exhaustive” juror questionnaire he ever relied on are, “Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about whether a former president may be criminally charged in state court?” and “Do you have any opinions about the legal limits governing political contributions?”

The background

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is the first former U.S. president ever to face a criminal trial, sitting at the same defense table where disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted in March 2020.


He’s pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsification of business records, alleging that during his first year in the White House, in 2017, he illegally reimbursed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen for a hush-money scheme to hide sex scandals from the 2016 electorate.

Cohen, Stormy Daniels, former Playboy model Karen McDougal, and former Trump aide Hope Hicks are among the characters from the salacious hush money saga expected to take the stand at the trial, which Merchan said could take up to two months.

As Trump vies for the presidency once again, the Manhattan charges are among 88 he’s battling inside state and federal courtrooms across four states.

They contain allegations dating from the year before he took office — when prosecutors allege his hush money plot to bury negative rumors about his sordid past started after he announced his candidacy — to the year he left when he allegedly sought to overthrow democracy and stashed classified documents with intelligence on nuclear programs at his Florida estate.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and says he is a victim of political persecution akin to a “modern-day” version of the late South African President Nelson Mandela.


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