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The Latest | First wave of jury selection in Trump’s hush money trial enters questioning phase

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.


— 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:


Several prospective jurors in Donald Trump’s hush money trial hemmed and hawed after being asked about their opinions of the former president during the questioning phase of jury selection on Tuesday.

When asked about his personal views of Trump, a Manhattan bookseller said it “has absolutely no bearing on the case that you’re presenting or defending. That is a separate thing.

“What I think of President Trump outside this room has nothing to do with what goes on in this room.”

Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche again asked the man to divulge his views of Trump, suggesting he imagine himself sitting at a bar with friends. The man demurred, getting a laugh out with his response: “If we were at a bar, I would.”

“You’re asking me to imbue my political views into a criminal case,” the man continued, calling them apples and oranges.

Finally, he offered: “I’m a Democrat, so there you go.”

Another man, a criminal prosecutor in the Bronx, said he had at least some positive views toward the former president.

“There’s things associated with him that I agree with, things I don’t really agree with him on,” the man said. He added, “I have a lot of friends in law enforcement who are pro-Trump.”

Another prospective juror said she’s not into politics and doesn’t have an opinion about Trump, but she is aware of criticism of his treatment of women.

“I’m a female, he’s targeted some females, so I would say some of my friends have strong opinions on him,” said the woman, who works in social media marketing for a sports betting company.


A day after Donald Trump insisted that he be present during one-on-one sidebar questioning of prospective jurors in his hush money trial, the former president changed his mind. Before an early afternoon break on Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers informed Judge Juan M. Merchan that he no longer wished to exercise his right to be present for all sidebars.

No such questioning has taken place, yet. The judge on Monday said that instead of in a side room, he’d conduct such questioning in his courtroom — with other jurors ushered out — to accommodate the logistical challenges of having his Trump and his Secret Service detail present.

“Mr. Trump, yesterday we discussed whether you wanted to be present at sidebars. You indicated you did. Your attorney indicated to me that you have changed your mind,” Merchan said, noting that Trump had signed a form waiving that right, known as Antommarchi Rights.


The first wave of jury selection in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial entered a new phase just before noon Tuesday after the remaining people from the first pool of potential jurors finished answering the questionnaire, allowing attorneys to begin individual questioning.

“Let’s talk about the obvious: The defendant in this case is both the former president and a candidate for that office. No one is suggesting that you can’t be a fair juror because you’ve heard of Donald Trump,” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass told the group. “We don’t expect you to have been living under a rock for the last eight years or the last 30 years.”

Steinglass spelled out the unique nature of the case, telling prospective jurors the witnesses include a former tabloid publisher, an adult film star, and Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who went to prison for crimes including lying to Congress.

He added that some witnesses have written books and recorded podcasts about the issues involved in the case, that in the past some have denied “many of the same facts that they’ll testify about here,” and that some have received immunity to compel their cooperation.


One would-be juror in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial shared her reaction on seeing Trump in person for the first time after being dismissed from the pool on Tuesday.

“Hilariously, my first thought was, ‘Oh, he looks exactly like he does on TV,’” Kara McGee recalled to reporters outside the Manhattan courthouse.

McGee, who works in cybersecurity, said she made eye contact with Trump after she told the judge that it would be hard for her to be a juror due to her work schedule.

McGee said that when she received her jury duty letter, her mother pointed out the date coincided with Trump’s trial, and she responded, “That sounds fascinating. I really hope I get to be on it.”


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.


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.


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.


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.

The Associated Press

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