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Saturday May 18, 2024

Donald Trump hush money case: Takeaways from first day of trial

Trump's legal team pushes for extended questioning in jury selection

By Web Desk
April 16, 2024
Majority of jurors dismissed in Donald Trumps hush money case. (Former President Donald Trump attends a hearing in New York City on March 25. — AFP)
Majority of jurors dismissed in Donald Trump's hush money case. (Former President Donald Trump attends a hearing in New York City on March 25. — AFP)

The first criminal trial of former US president, Donald Trump, kicked off on Monday. Trump, who pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, showed up in the courtroom along with his attorneys. They spent the day debating with prosecutors over what evidence could be admitted.

Choosing a jury was not easy. More than half of the first batch of potential jurors were dismissed because they didn't think they could be fair and impartial. Trump has voiced concerns about getting a fair jury in Manhattan, where the jurors must live. However, most of the remaining jurors said they would be fair and impartial in this case.

One potential juror was dismissed after she admitted to having strong opinions about Trump that could interfere with her ability to be a fair juror. She was heard saying, "I just couldn't do it," in the hallway outside the courtroom.

None of the other nine potential jurors who were questioned had read any books written by either Trump or Michael Cohen, and none had worked or volunteered for Trump.

As the hearing unfolded, the defence looked to slow things down as the November elections draw near. After months of appeals to delay the start of the trial, they are now focused on preserving every issue for appeal.

Trump's lawyers pushed for extended questioning of potential jurors and tried to bog down the trial. For example, Trump's attorney, Todd Blanche, requested more time to question potential jurors, and the judge and DA's office agreed.

Meanwhile, the prosecution accused Trump of flouting the judge's gag order with his social media outbursts. They requested the court to hold Trump in contempt and gunned for a $3,000 fine for his indiscretions — $1,000 each for three social media posts.

As the trial gears up for what promises to be a marathon, one thing is sure: it is shaping up to be a showdown like no other.