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Sunday May 19, 2024

Jury selection begins in historic hush money case against Donald Trump

Jury selection in Donald Trump’s hush money trial gets underway as over dozens of prospective jurors dismissed

By Web Desk
April 16, 2024
Dozens of prospective jurors dismissed in Trumps hush money trial. (Former president Donald Trump. — AFP File)
Dozens of prospective jurors dismissed in Trump's hush money trial. (Former president Donald Trump. — AFP File)

Jury selection kicked off in Donald Trump's historic criminal trial, with the judge tossing out scores of potential New York City jurors who felt they would not be able to fairly weigh the case.

The trial marks the first time a former US president has faced such charges. The judge reminded nearly 100 prospective jurors to check their biases as the case hearing began.

On the first day, Justice Juan Merchan dismissed dozens of potential jurors after they admitted they could not be impartial about the 2024 Republican presidential candidate. One would-be juror summed it up outside the courtroom, saying, "I just couldn't do it." Others were excused for various reasons.

Selecting a jury from heavily Democratic Manhattan could take several days.

Manhattan's District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, slapped Trump with charges of cooking the books to cover up a $130,000 payout to hush up former adult film star Stormy Daniels about an alleged fling back in 2006. Trump denies the charge, pleading not guilty.

"It looks like the judge isn't going to allow me to escape this scam, this scam trial," Trump griped at the court's hallway during an interval in the hearing.

The trial is expected to last until May. It will see lawyers from both sides seeking to empanel 12 jurors and six alternates.

The trial will feature testimony from witnesses, including Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, and Daniels herself.

And even if he is found guilty, it is not a one-way ticket out of politics, but it could sway voters come election time. However, Trump must attend the trial, despite his lawyers' request for him to miss a session to attend a US Supreme Court session in Washington.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, half of independent voters and one in four Republicans would not vote for him if he were convicted. Trump, known for his blue suit and red tie, could face fines or probation if found guilty of falsifying business records, a felony in New York.