Jury selection begins Monday in first-ever criminal trial of a former president

68
724

By BRETT ROWLAND | THE CENTER SQUARE

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president. 

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to charges he paid hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels through a lawyer and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president.

Trump has attempted to delay the start of the New York state trial several times, including three longshot tactics judges rejected this week. 

What charges does Trump face in the New York hush money case? 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to money paid to Daniels and another woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Bragg has alleged Trump broke New York law when he falsified with the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

Prosecutors allege Trump falsified internal records kept by his company, hiding the true nature of payments that involve Daniels ($130,000), McDougal ($150,000), and Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen ($420,000). Prosecutors allege the money was logged as legal expenses, not reimbursements. Both Cohen and Daniels are expected to testify. 

Cohen is expected to be a key witness in the trial. Daniels has said she expects to testify. 

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., Bragg’s predecessor, did not bring the case to trial.

What happens on Monday? 

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and Donald Trump are expected to be present when the trial before Judge Juan Merchan gets started Monday. The first step will be picking a jury, a process that could take a week or more depending on how things progress. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will select 12 jurors and six alternates from a pool of potentially hundreds of people. Each juror will answer 42 questions designed to determine if they can be impartial in the high-profile trial of a polarizing former president. The jurors will remain anonymous because of security concerns.

Once a jury is seated, it’s on to opening statements, where prosecutors and defense attorneys will get to address the jury about what they plan to show during the trial. 

What is Trump’s defense to the charges?

Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong and has accused Bragg of bringing a politically motivated case involving conduct in 2016 during a presidential election year as Trump faces incumbent President Joe Biden in a rematch of the 2020 election. 

Trump has spoken out against the judge, the district attorney and others involved in the case repeatedly. Trump’s comments prompted a gag order from the judge who said Trump can’t talk publicly about certain people involved in the case and their families.

“The White House Thugs should not be allowed to have these dangerous and unfair Biden Trials during my campaign for President. All of them, civil and criminal, could have been brought more than three years ago. It is an illegal attack on a Political Opponent. It is Communism at its worst, and Election Interference at its Best. No such thing has ever happened in our Country before,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social this week. “On Monday I will be forced to sit, GAGGED, before a HIGHLY CONFLICTED & CORRUPT JUDGE, whose hatred for me has no bounds. All of these New York and D.C. ‘Judges’ and Prosecutors have the same MINDSET. Nobody but this Soros Prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, wanted to take this ridiculous case. All legal scholars say it is a sham. BIDEN’S DOJ IS RUNNING THE CASE. Just think of it, these animals want to put the former President of the United States (who got more votes than any sitting President!), & the PARTY’S REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE, IN JAIL, for doing absolutely nothing wrong. It is a RUSH TO THE FINISH. SO UNFAIR!”

Will Trump take the stand? 

That’s not clear yet. Trump said last month that he’d be willing to testify at trial if needed. 

Could Trump go to jail? 

It’s too early to tell what will happen if Trump is convicted. Under New York state law, falsifying business records in the first degree is a Class E felony that carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. 

Trump’s age and lack of any prior criminal convictions could work in his favor at sentencing if he’s convicted. His attacks on the judge could have the opposite effect at sentencing. Before sentencing, the judge would look at sentencing guidelines, recommendations from prosecutors and any other pre-sentence reports. 

In late March, Trump said that he wasn’t worried about a conviction when asked if he thought a conviction could hurt his chances of returning to the White House.

“It could also make me more popular because the people know it’s a scam,” he said. “It’s a Biden trial, there is no trial, there’s a Biden trial.”

Whatever happens during the trial, Trump will be protected by the U.S. Secret Service. 

Even if convicted and sentenced to jail, Trump could continue his campaign to re-take the White House. 

 “The Constitution does not bar felons from serving as President,” said Richard Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Trump could not pardon himself from any state charges, Hasen said.

68 COMMENTS

  1. Prediction: Trump will be convinced (it is NYC), and the conviction gets tossed on appeal.

    This is a farce and everyone with a brain knows it.

    • Of all the indictments against Trump, this is the weakest. The stretch they’ve made of the statute of limitations is novel – but ultimately unconvincing. This is absolutely the best possible criminal case he could face first. I don’t think he’ll be convicted, if he does, I agree, tossed on appeal. This was a very foolish case to bring to court.

      The effect it will have to his base though, will be yuge and energizing. He’s slipping in the polls, but not after this case is decided.

      • Actually, the weakest case brought against the former president is the one brought by the Attorney General of New York based on his inflated property valuations in order to obtain loans. He actually obtained and then paid back the loans. How his puffery harmed the public and can be considered a crime in this case is difficult to apprehend.

        • Joe, I was referring specifically to the criminal cases, not his civil cases. They really stretched the law to make this criminal case pass a grand jury.

          • You just said it northman. In reality, the corrupt judiciary is able to pick the grand jurors to cooperate with their agenda. Then, they are able to manipulate the same as a result of perverting the entire grand jury process in itself. The grand juries are no longer autonomous as originally intended. Rather, they are controlled by prosecutors. The ignorance of the grand jurors as to their true authority is the most effective tool of the prosecutors. Even more so with corrupt prosecutors.

      • Bill. I don’t think the numbers will change. I suspect that there are very few undecided voters.

    • Yet another farce that must be discussed is the software used by this website. It seems to have been coded in 1996. See Masked’s and Geldhof’s comments as examples of why commenters need the ability to edit their comments. All websites with commenting give the ability to edit or delete one’s own comments. In fact, most now do automatic spelling and grammar checking. I’ve implored this so-called “conservative” site to modernize but they don’t seem to be listening. I challenge anyone to find a leftist website so stuck in the past; they are so much better with digital technology.

  2. So, Hunter Biden goes untouched for all his falsified records, abuse of controlled subtances, illegal firearm purchase, and tax evasion. Bill Clinton has paid out millions in hush monies and civil penalties, were he and Hillary’s books ever checked? Any audits of the Clinton Foundation? Nope.

    • Jim: Entirely stupid comment. The issue is defendant Trump, not your go-to pretend gotcha concerns.

      • “The issue is defendant Trump………”
        It is for those suffering Trump Derangement Syndrome. To the rest of us, the issue is the corruption of the legal branch of government……….to go along with the corruption of the executive and legislative branches of government.

        • Reggie: Here’s today’s reason to dislike Trump: “Gettysburg. What an unbelievable battle. That was the battle of Gettysburg. What an unbelievable I mean, it was so much and so interesting and so vicious and horrible and so beautiful and so many different ways… Gettysburg wow”

          He is not intelligent. Not fit to lead.

          • Let me unpack if for you Skippy. “Unbelievable, so much”–over 51,000 casualties, almost 10,000 dead in one day; the bloodiest battle on record on this continent. “Interesting”–from the perspective of military history the 3-day battle was intriguing; a highly complex unfolding of events involving the most notable generals on both sides; see Wikipedia for details. “Vicious and horrible”–any student of knows the Civil war was one of the most brutal in history; technology had evolved resulting in deadly weaponry; research the effect of grapeshot from canons. “Beautiful”–men of many races including African Americans, but mostly white men, lost their lives for the primary purpose of abolishing slavery. The average confederate soldier was not fighting to preserve slavery but rather was simply answering the call of his particular home state to do his duty without question. Something that still occurs to this day. The sacrifice of these men, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address truly stand as beautiful exponents in the annals of human history. In summary, Trump’s understands these points far more than you. His inability to articulate his thoughts to your satisfaction is quite irrelevant to his patriotism. We are praying for you my friend.

    • And E. Jean Carroll gets no charges for her illegally possessed gun in NYC. Its good to do the bidding of your Democrat masters!Ooo, she had to give up he gun.. .. Big whoop

  3. Karma has finally come home to roost, and boy does this bully deserve it. Equal justice under law. Equal justice under law.

    • The REAL bullies are the NYC judges , prosecutors and DA. Open your eyes. This is what Communists do. And that is not hyperbole. Listen to the two Democrat law professors sounding the alarm over this political warfare. They see it for what it is.

        • Check your history Skippy. The communists sent millions to the gulags after brief trials. More than 50% of prisoners in communist countries are political prisoners rather than traditional criminals. Sadly, our republic is descending into this same pattern of political persecution. It is a symptom of totalitarian tyranny.

          • Your explanation was spot on.

            The U.S.S.R. made an art of show trials.

            Some people are ignorant of history. Some by choice, others…

    • Would you say the same for Hunter Biden illegally laundering money to his daddy? Or Pelosi partaking in insider trading? When will you see that this is purely political? They could have charged him 3 years ago, but they didn’t. All of those lefty DAs purposefully waited until last year to go forth with phony charges, at the behest of the corrupt DOJ and the Biden regime, in order to sabotage a political opponent. Stick your head out the window and start seeing reality, not this constructed fantasy that you have been brainwashed into believing.

    • Child…

      1-the statute of limitations has run out on the misdemeanor charge. Bragg is attempting to bootstrap it into a non existent felony never done before.

      Hardly equal Justice.

      2-previous DAs chose not to pursue this for a variety of reasons. Until Bragg wanted his 15 minutes of infamy. Never done before, for pure political reasons.

      Hardly equal Justice.

      3-the payment actually is a legitimate campaign expense since he paid her to not make noise during his campaign.

      Due to the prenup, he would have had to pay her anyway. So the whole concept goes down the drain.

      It may be tasteless, but it’s not illegal.

      If politicians were regularly held accountable our political system would die. So this sort of thing is constantly ignored. Until Trump.

      Hardly equal Justice.

      4-only the federal government can prosecute campaign finance violations.
      Bragg is attempting, poorly, to do something he legally has no power to do.

      The federal government, no friend of Trump has chosen not to pursue this.

      So this boils down to campaign harassment. With a side of career building by Bragg.

      Again, hardly equal treatment under the law.

      Child, you can’t even walk, much less run with bigger dogs. Stay under the porch.

  4. Wouldn’t we all just be happier by installing Trump as President for Life and just doing away with the two party system all together ?

    Isn’t that what we really want ?

    No more government indoctrination schools, no more environmental laws, libraries and universities must be more closely regulated.

    We need to restore America to its once great status amongst nations, we must withdraw from the UN immediately !

    Donald Trump is the only person to Save America, God Bless DONALD TRUMP 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

    • What in hell are you babbling about?
      Good weed this week?

      Or is this bad snark that failed brutally?

      No, “we”, including most of us who will vote from Trump do not want him installed into anything.

      Nor do we want him for life.

      “We” want him to warn the position via the path laid out by the Founders/Framers. Convince the people to vote for him if he can, serve to the best of his ability if elected, and go home after his Constitutionally term limited run is over.

  5. It’s easy just fill out questionnaire being mum on everything about you, act like you are neutral, don’t read news, and not affiliated with any cultural, political, and social values. You are in on any jury duty. For example it’s interesting how every single jurist who raised their hand when questioned who was familiar with MMIG. They were all dismissed. That’s how to stay chosen for jury duty, do not have preference, do not have an opinion, do not fill anything out on the juror questionnaire. Just fill it out like you are in hurry and you have no time for details. I think that’s why liberals/moderates and whites are likely to be jurors is their discretion and vagueness. They appear more objective.

  6. The witness list includes:

    Michael Cohen, a disbarred, dishonest attorney.

    Stormy Daniels, who makes a living getting filmed
    while being sexually penetrated by hundreds of different men. This is a Joe Biden trial designed to entertain Democrats and Trump haters. These kangaroo trials are a sign of what America’s judicial system has become. Pure disgust.

    • On another note, even Trump himself said he was entitled to keep top secret files in an unsecured location just because he says so. Sounds kind of like he thinks he can do anything.

  7. I do not get this. If you pay a person hush money not to talk about something that is not illegal for consenting adults there is no crime. Whether sex happened is irrelevant. Unless there is a tax evasion charge for an illegal deduction of what is a private non deductible expense there can be no case. What am I missing? Someone enlighten me please. Political campaigns try and hush up all kinds of things they deem harmful to a successful campaign. So do all businesses. This costs money. So are any hushing attempts illegal unless you list them as legitimate attempts to gag and deceive?? Then they are ok?
    How about their opposites when you turn a sows ear into A silk purse. Ok to deduct it if you state ‘ sows ear to silk purse’ in your checkbook. If the statute of limitations ran on a sex and pillow talk deduction as a business deduction then that can be used politically but not as a charge in a courtroom. And why isn’t a sex scandal if false not deductible if it harms your business or your campaign in the age of ‘ me too ‘. ? I have yet to read an intelligent logical analysis so I query this in hopes someone can show me what I missed.

    • What MAGA doesn’t understand is Trump isn’t on trial for whether or not he slept with Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, or even fathered a love child.

      He’s on trial for falsifying business records 34x to cover up those payments. An important distinction. That is such a power move – paying a porn actress to be quiet about your cheating and being so cheap that you try to write off the financial transaction. Could he not come up with 120K in small bills like most politicians do? Same guy is now hawking bibles and gold plated sneakers? Time to move on and cover more pertinent news stories – like the rulings in Arizona.

  8. This sort of shameless Lawfare will eventually be used again the left.

    And they will be outraged by it.

  9. I think a lot of the lawfare against the Donald is nonsense. A lot of it but probably not all of it.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Republican Party were going to nominate someone who didn’t have three tons of baggage? Wouldn’t that improve the chances of beating Dementia Joe? Just a thought.

  10. Looking forward to this. The left is digging a hole that they will never be able to get out of. While President Trump will eventually walk as a free man (and our 47th/19th president), there being trial after trial after trial involving all of these minions and their “globalist leaders” and they will not be walking free after that! They are setting the precedent for the People to try each and every one of them. Bring it on.

  11. The amount of denial on both sides here is pathetic. Trump broke half of you, and the other half are engaged in political idolatry that Mao would have been proud of.

    -this is a show trial and everyone with a brain knows it. Even most democrats know it, but it serves their purposes. It’s a witch hunt designed to bleed him financially, keep him off the campaign trail, and distract from Grandpa Bloodstains epic failures as POTUS.

    -Trump was not sent by God to save us, nor is he gonna turn back the clock to the mid 80s. He is a very flawed man who, like it or not, will be the GOP nominee. He’s a better choice than Grandpa Bloodstains, but not a gigantic one.

    Deal with reality.

  12. MA, you often have great observations, but in this case you are surely wrong. President Trump WAS sent by God! He is a force for our Christian Nation to reclaim its position in the world. We are a nation that has a forgotten our roots. DJT WILL bring us back – he already started before the election was stolen by evil forces bent on destroying America.

    Look, I know, we all know, that DJT is not perfect, he’s made bad choices, but he has been Chosen and he is now rising to the challenge God has put before him, to restore this nation. He will not be a dictator because he will follow the Constitution. At the end of his next term, his legacy will be ready to lead this nation – Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka and Eric – all of whom are or will be fit to lead this Great Nation into a future with a foundation built by DJT – as ordained.

    We do not get to choose the vessel of our salvation, but we must recognize it when it comes.

    DJT 2024!!!

      • How don’t you see the parallels between the trials Jesus faced and those faced by President Trump? Again, I know Jesus was the literal son of God, perfect in every way, and President Trump is not either of those two things. But haven’t we fallen far from God’s grace? Why would He send a perfect person to bring us back to the light? We would reject that perfect person because we are so far gone! That is why President Trump IS THE VESSEL! He has fallen and stumbled, just like us. He has chosen to follow a better path, just like us! He stands trial in a court of injustice FOR US, in our place! President Trump goes to the Cross, for US!

        DJT 2024!

        • Hill. How do you function in a world of evidence and reason and science while at the same rejecting evidence and reason and science?

          Or. Or. Wait. Are you being sarcastic and phony and I believed you?

          • Paola, you use words like “evidence” and “reason” and “science” almost as if you understood what they actually mean.

            But you can’t fool us; we all know that for a radical leftist extremist such as yourself, feelings and groupthink are all that really matter.

          • Problem with your stupid premise is I can show you all kinds of evidence but you’d deny/ignore it.

            So why bother? Talking to moose poop is more effective.

            What I’m curious about is why, since you clearly don’t believe in anything, you care? And why you feel the need to engage with a deluded man?

            Just how emotionally insecure are you?

            • David, aka Masked Avenger: my mission is to bring those that believe in supernatural fantasy closer to reality. That benefits me and all of us since rational, critical thinkers make better decisions.

              For Hill to link your Jesus with shister, pussy grabbing semi- literate, con man defendant Trump offends me on a rational basis. But shouldn’t you be outraged that Hill would so shit upon your Christ?

        • I don’t see it because I have a functioning brain and actually know a good bit about Christian faith.

          If you are actually serious you are somewhere between idolatry and false god worship.

          If you are serious, I urge you to check yourself into API for long term, serous treatment.

    • I will assume that your presentation is in jest. If it somehow isn’t, the notion that the Donald has been somehow sent by the Almighty and is the ONLY person that can “save” the United States is delusional and offensive to Christianity. Please get help. There ain’t a moral or principled bone in Mr. Trump’s body. This will all end very badly.

  13. “Trump says states that have abortion bans are part of a “beautiful harmony” of state laws”

    Trump is not intelligent. Not fit to lead.

      • Ginny: The Hill, Newsweek, The Guardian, RTE, AP.

        But I had the quote wrong. Here’s the correct version. Fortunately, it doesn’t make any difference.

        Donald Trump has called the widespread turmoil inflicted on states in the aftermath of overturning Roe v. Wade a “very, very beautiful harmony.”

          • I’m your huckleberry Sebastian. In context, Trump is absolutely right…. if one’s primary constitutional concern is state’s rights. Moreover, our constitution does not specifically protect the rights of unborn people. Nor does it specifically entitle people to murder unborn humans. However, it does specifically designate matters unaddressed within its framework to fall under the purview of the states. I could go on but I don’t know precisely how “clever” of a rebuttal you seek.

            • Wayne – So you agree with Trump that since Oregon allows abortion in all stages of pregnancy you are ok with that. That makes Trump the most pro choice Republican President since Gerald Ford. What ever happened to life begins at conception? You are going to throw that tenet of Christianity out the window just to make sure billionaires get another tax break!

    • Based on your posts, you’re mentally insufficient and not fit to vote.

      Especially if you’re sourcing the Guardian.

      • MA The source of the quote is defendant Trump. Who cares about these other sources. He said it. He AGAIN proved his unfitness.

        • Again, considering your sources.
          And you, for that matter.

          Context kills you every time. And you can’t/wont see it.

Comments are closed.