Politics

Donald Trump on the Hot Seat: First-Ever Criminal Trial of a Former President Begins Today

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Former President Donald Trump is set to make his appearance in a New York City courtroom on Monday, April 15, 2024, as jury selection begins for what amounts to a historic moment in US history—the first-ever criminal trial of a former president.

Trial Centers on Alleged Falsification of Business Records

Trump faces accusations of fudging business records to cover up a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

He is expected to appear in Manhattan Supreme Court around 9:30 a.m. to oversee the selection of jurors who will judge the case.

The jury selection process is anticipated to take some time. Attorneys on both sides have unlimited opportunities to dismiss potential jurors for “cause” and around 10 chances to strike jurors without providing reasons.

Both parties have agreed not to remove jurors based solely on political party affiliations, in line with how previous politically charged cases have been handled in New York.

Prospective jurors are expected to read aloud their answers to questions regarding their opinions on Trump and other potentially polarizing topics, as well as their potential affiliations with groups like QAnon or Antifa.

Anonymous Juror Selection

The names of potential jurors will be kept anonymous, although lawyers and consultants for each side will have access to them. Consultants are expected to comb through each possible juror’s online presence to ensure they are not hiding any bias.

Both sides aim to find jurors who are impartial and fair. “It’s jury elimination,” Anna Cominsky, a criminal law professor at New York Law School, explained.

“Both sides will try to weed out the worst on either side and hopefully you end up in the middle, which is with the jurors who agree to be fair and impartial.”

Potential Outcomes of the Trial

Every juror’s opinion will be crucial, as a single holdout could lead to a hung jury. A hung jury might complicate the potential for a retrial, especially given the upcoming election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, with allegations that he lied on his company documents about reimbursing his former lawyer Michael Cohen for “legal services” when the payment was for hush money to Daniels.

Each of the counts carries a potential prison sentence of up to four years, but it remains unclear if prosecutors would seek a prison sentence for Trump in the event of a conviction.

Image credits: Wallpaper Flare

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