Trump’s Criminal Trial to Begin Today in Manhattan


Published: 1 month ago

Reading time: 3 minutes

Hundreds of Manhattanites have been summoned to court so that prosecutors and defense lawyers can choose 12 who will decide the fate of Donald J. Trump.

Trump Hush-Money Trial: What You Need to Know


The first criminal trial of an American president is set to begin in Manhattan as prosecutors and defense lawyers gather to select a jury that will decide the fate of Donald J. Trump. The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, has charged Trump with 34 felonies, accusing him of falsifying documents to conceal a sex scandal involving a porn star. This case is one of four indictments facing the former president and presumptive Republican nominee, and it could have significant implications for the political landscape leading up to the next election [[1]].

Jury Selection and Trial Details


Jury selection is expected to last for two weeks or more, and the trial itself may extend into June. Trump is anticipated to be present in the courtroom for a significant portion of the proceedings. The trial will feature the spectacle of a former president confronting a part of his past that he has tried to bury. In 2016, Trump's former fixer, Michael D. Cohen, paid $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the encounter, but prosecutors claim that he falsified documents to hide reimbursements to Cohen [[1]].

The judge in the case, Juan M. Merchan, has already imposed a gag order, preventing Trump from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, jurors, and the judge's family. The 12 jurors, once selected, will play a crucial role in evaluating Cohen's testimony, as he is expected to be the prosecution's star witness. Jury selection will be a critical process for both sides, with prosecutors having some advantage as the jury pool is drawn from Manhattan, a predominantly Democratic county [[1]].

Other Cases and Charges


This Manhattan criminal case against Trump is the first of its kind and was brought by Alvin L. Bragg in March 2023. Trump is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, and if convicted, he could face up to four years in prison. It is uncertain whether this will be the only trial to take place before the 2024 presidential election, as Trump also faces three other criminal cases involving accusations of mishandling classified documents and plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss. Additionally, two recent civil cases, one for defamation and the other for fraud, concluded earlier this year with Trump facing over $500 million in judgments [[1]].

The Lawyers and Witnesses


Trump's lead lawyer is Todd Blanche, a former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer. He is joined by Susan Necheles, an experienced New York defense lawyer who previously represented Trump's company in a Manhattan criminal trial, and Emil Bove, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan. On the prosecution side, Alvin L. Bragg has assembled a team that includes Joshua Steinglass, a longtime homicide prosecutor, and Susan Hoffinger, the head of investigations in the prosecutor's office. Other members of the prosecution team include Matthew Colangelo, a former Justice Department official, and Chris Conroy, who has been involved in investigating Trump from the beginning [[1]].

The witness list for the trial is expected to include individuals who were part of Trump's campaign, aides, employees, and friends from the 2016 era. Alongside Michael Cohen, the prosecution is likely to call David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, as well as Hope Hicks, a former campaign and White House aide to Trump. Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, both involved in hush-money deals related to Trump, could also be witnesses. Trump himself has expressed his intention to testify in his own defense, although it is not certain if he will do so [[1]].

Gag Order and Courthouse Security


To prevent potential witness tampering, Trump has faced a gag order imposed by Judge Juan M. Merchan. This order prohibits Trump from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, jurors, and the judge's family. However, Trump has risked violating this order by attacking Michael Cohen on social media. He has also targeted Justice Merchan's daughter, a Democratic political consultant, and called for the judge's recusal. Despite these attempts, Justice Merchan has declined to step aside from the case, citing a ruling by a judicial ethics commission that found no conflict of interest regarding his daughter's work [[1]].

Given the high-profile nature of the trial, courthouse security will be tight. The U.S. Secret Service will protect Trump, court officers will conduct searches of individuals entering the building, and police officers will patrol the surrounding streets to manage potential protests and counterprotests [[1]].

Conclusion


The Trump hush-money trial is set to begin in Manhattan with jury selection. This historic trial marks the first criminal trial of an American president. Prosecutors have charged Trump with falsifying documents to conceal a sex scandal involving a porn star. The trial is expected to have significant political implications, and the jury selection process will be crucial for both sides. Trump's defense team and the prosecution have assembled a lineup of experienced lawyers, and the witness list includes individuals closely associated with Trump's campaign. The trial will be conducted under a gag order, and courthouse security will be tight to ensure the safety and integrity of the proceedings [[1]].


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