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Trump's Hush Money Trial


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Trump tests limits of gag order with post insulting 2 likely witnesses in criminal trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Days after a New York judge expanded a gag order on Donald Trump to curtail “inflammatory” speech, the former president tested its limits by disparaging two key witnesses in his upcoming criminal hush money trial as liars.

https://apnews.com/article/trump-trial-new-york-gag-order-a3193356a115951052bbd92f528d1989?

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Campaign moves to courthouse

Former President Trump is moving part of his campaign operation to New York this weekend. And a massive security operation is descending around the Lower Manhattan courthouse for a trial that could last six to eight weeks, including jury selection.

  • Why it matters: The first-ever criminal trial of a former president — who happens to be a presumptive nominee — is triggering the long-expected collision between Trump's legal jeopardy and his presidential ambitions, Axios' Erin Doherty and Sophia Cai report.

The trial won't be televised, based on New York law. But the proceeding will reshape the presidential campaign in unprecedented ways.

  • For at least four days a week, Trump likely will have to be in court, facing allegations that he falsified business records to cover up a hush-money payment to a porn star just before the 2016 election.
  • He'll sleep at Trump Tower.
  • The trial is expected to be in recess on Wednesdays. So Trump will likely use those days and weekends for campaign events.

Trump's team also will continue to treat every moment he's at a microphone outside the courtroom as a campaign event.

  • His campaign has been in touch with surrogates about doing media hits about the election while he's in court.

During a press conference with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) at Mar-a-Lago yesterday, Trump said when asked about the trial: "I will testify — absolutely." But it's far from clear he actually will.

  • That would be another unprecedented moment in a trial full of them — but many legal experts doubt he'll actually risk having to answer a range of questions under oath.

⚖️ Hundreds of prospective jurors are expected to show up at the Manhattan courthouse on Monday, when prosecutors and Trump's attorneys will begin a jury-selection process that could last up to two weeks.

  • Jurors won't be asked about their political affiliations. But they will be asked questions about their news sources, whether they've worked for Trump or attended one of his rallies, and whether they've ever been members of the Proud Boys or the QAnon movement.

Hope Hicks, a former close Trump aide, is expected to testify and provide key details on what was happening in the former president's inner circle in the days before the 2016 election.

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How a hush money scandal tied to a porn star led to Trump’s first criminal trial

NEW YORK (AP) — It was the kind of tawdry tale that Donald Trump might have relished before politics: a porn actor claiming they had had sex.

https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-michael-cohen-stormy-daniels-e40532d3bce7768e296fdaf9591ef05b?

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Trump jury clues

Celebrity lawyers say social media will play a key role as former President Trump's hush-money trial kicks off tomorrow, and it has nothing to do with his tweets.

Why it matters: Finding 18 impartial people (12 jurors, 6 alternates) is a daunting task, but one of the first places lawyers on both sides will look is what they're sharing online, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

  • "You're looking for people who are posting their vacation pictures and are really big fans of the Rolling Stones and are talking about how much they love the eclipse," former Harvey Weinstein defense attorney Arthur Aidala told Axios.
  • "You really don't want jurors who bring something to the table, other than the fact that they have a general understanding that Trump was the president," former federal prosecutor Joshua Naftalis told Axios.
  • The primary goal is to determine if "their political leanings are going to affect their ability to listen to evidence in an impartial way," Camille Vasquez, who represented Johnny Depp in his defamation case, told NPR.

Zoom in: Each side's ideal juror looks a lot like the respective sides of the 2024 presidential election, Reuters notes, citing legal experts.

  • Trump's ideal: Blue-collar men who distrust federal law enforcement as well as read and watch right-wing news.
  • Prosecutors' ideal: White-collar people, especially women, who watch MSNBC.

The bottom line: "I think we overstate how much people actually follow the news," veteran CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin — who rose to fame covering the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial in 1995 — told Politico.

  • "But Trump presents a unique challenge in that regard. It's one thing to be a famous football star — it's another thing to be president of the United States," he said.

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Day 1

The first trial against former President Trump is now underway — and it looks like it might take a while.

  • At least 50 potential jurors were dismissed today, the first day of jury selection, because they said they could not be impartial, per pool reports. It could take several days just to find 12 jurors.
  • Judge Juan Merchan declined to recuse himself from the trial today, and he rejected another effort by former President Trump's legal team to delay the proceedings.
  • Merchan scheduled a hearing for next week on prosecutors' claims that Trump violated the gag order in the case.

Trump "appeared to nod off a few times" during the proceedings, the NYT's Maggie Haberman reports.

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Trump’s historic hush money trial gets underway; 1st day ends without any jurors being picked

NEW YORK (AP) — The historic hush money trial of Donald Trump got underway Monday with the arduous process of selecting a jury to hear the case charging the former president with falsifying business records in order to stifle stories about his sex life.

https://apnews.com/article/trump-hush-money-trial-jury-selection-8da8759352478be8effd3d5734aae35e?

phkrause

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Trump's shadow trial
mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.axios.com%
Jason Miller via X

With no cameras in court and his gag order untouched, Trump's courtroom campaign in New York is forcing him to be an observer instead of the aggressor.

  • In the early hours of his criminal trial, Trump "appeared to nod off a few times, his mouth going slack and his head drooping onto his chest," the N.Y. Times' Maggie Haberman reported.
  • Trump "appeared to jolt awake" after several minutes of his lawyer passing him notes, Haberman wrote.
  • Trump laughed at least once, chuckling when prosecutors read his social media post that anyone who wants a good lawyer shouldn't hire his former counsel Michael Cohen.

😡 Trump flashed anger after the day's proceedings, fixating on Judge Juan Merchant for not immediately excusing the former president to attend Barron Trump's high school graduation in May.

  • The hush money trial is expected to last 6-8 weeks, with a potential verdict by Memorial Day.

Between the lines: More than half of the first batch of potential jurors were immediately dismissed today after saying they couldn't be impartial, according to a trial pool report.

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Trump on trial: Former president faces criminal charges of falsifying business records

NEW YORK — The trial of former President Donald Trump kicked off Monday in a lower Manhattan courtroom, marking the first time in U.S. history that an ex-president has been tried on criminal charges.

https://floridaphoenix.com/2024/04/15/trump-on-trial-former-president-faces-criminal-charges-of-falsifying-business-records/?

Trump Is Already Losing in Court—and the Judge Isn’t Playing

The jurors haven’t even been selected yet. The trial really hasn’t even started. But as Donald Trump’s first day in criminal court wrapped up on Monday, the former president already seemed to be losing.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-is-already-losing-in-courtand-the-judge-isnt-playing?

phkrause

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Trump hush money trial: Day 2 highlights

We’ve ended today’s live coverage, but there’s still plenty to catch up on. Read what you missed below and follow the latest on Trump.

https://apnews.com/live/trump-trial-hush-money-updates-april-16?

First 7 jurors are chosen for Trump’s hush money criminal trial, with 11 more still needed

NEW YORK (AP) — The first seven jurors for Donald Trump’s hush money trial were seated Tuesday after lawyers grilled the jury pool about their social media posts, political views and personal lives to decide who can sit in fair judgment of the former president.

https://apnews.com/article/trump-hush-money-criminal-trial-new-york-dd1a8dcc063b7ad0fbe14af6e8724c2f?

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Haunted by his tweets

Former President Trump's social media posts are taking center stage during the first criminal trial against him in New York as he continues to push the bounds of his gag order, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

  • Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg wrote in a filing today that Trump violated his gag order and should be held in contempt over posts that attacked Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels.

The big picture: Trump's social media activity has previously been scrutinized in court.

  • A dozen Trump tweets were cited in Georgia's racketeering indictment against him and 18 of his allies over the 2020 election.
  • In his New York civil fraud trial, Trump was fined twice for violations of his gag order in the case.

Read more

phkrause

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Trump faces reality

Two days into his historic criminal trial, former President Trump is confronting the same rare feeling that fueled his erratic behavior in the wake of the 2020 election: a loss of control.

  • Why it matters: Trump is quickly learning that Manhattan criminal court isn't like the court of public opinion, where he broke every rule of politics and bulldozed to Republican dominance, Axios' Zachary Basu writes.

🔎 Zoom in: In the dingy 15th-floor courtroom ruled by Judge Juan Merchan, Trump is a criminal defendant with the same rights — and restrictions — as any American facing charges in the State of New York.

  • The former president must attend every day of his trial in person, with no exception for next week's Supreme Court hearing on his claim of presidential immunity from prosecution.
  • Trump already has been slapped with a gag order — and now is at risk of being held in contempt for criticizing two potential witnesses, Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen.
  • Tensions hit a new high yesterday when Merchan scolded Trump for "muttering" and "gesturing" at a potential juror: "I won't tolerate that. I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom."

🖼️ The big picture: Trump is intent on exploiting the trial to advance his claims of "political persecution." But the courtroom has a special knack for piercing the carefully choreographed trademarks of his political persona, including:

  • His strongman image: The Trump campaign lashed out at reports that the former president dozed off during the first day of jury selection.
  • His echo chamber: Far from the golden halls of Mar-a-Lago, Trump spent yesterday listening to the unvarnished opinions of his potential jurors. Many were dismissed for trashing Trump on social media or admitting they couldn't be impartial.

The other side: Trump is still finding ways to slip in campaign messaging during his trial, including constant posts on Truth Social.

  • After leaving the courthouse yesterday, Trump visited a Harlem bodega that had been the scene of a violent crime — a jab at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

phkrause

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Trump lawyers say Stormy Daniels refused subpoena outside a Brooklyn bar, papers left ‘at her feet’

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s legal team says it tried serving Stormy Daniels a subpoena as she arrived for an event at a bar in Brooklyn last month, but the porn actor, who is expected to be a witness at the former president’s criminal trial, refused to take it and walked away.

https://apnews.com/article/stormy-daniels-donald-trump-d3dce88566bafb714dbb5c1acd3e4a83?

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12 jurors have been picked for Donald Trump’s hush money trial. Selection of alternates is ongoing

NEW YORK (AP) — A jury of 12 people was seated Thursday in former President Donald Trump’s history-making hush money trial, propelling the proceedings closer to opening statements and the start of weeks of dramatic testimony.

https://apnews.com/article/trump-manhattan-stormy-daniels-michael-cohen-b514cb52bb31a82579cb827c40166173?

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⚖️ Trump jury set

A jury of 12 Manhattanites was picked to determine the fate of Donald Trump in the first-ever criminal trial of a former president.

  • One alternate was also picked, leaving five to go when the court resumes this morning, Axios' Erin Doherty and April Rubin write.

The final 12 are a slice of Manhattan:

  • Five women and seven men made it onto the jury.
  • They include two lawyers, an engineer, a teacher, a software engineer and a health care worker.

🔮 What's next: Judge Juan Merchan says oral arguments are on track to start Monday.

Full jury selected in Trump’s criminal trial on hush-money charges

The New York state court trying former President Donald Trump on criminal charges empaneled a full 12-person jury on the third day of the trial Thursday, according to reports.

https://floridaphoenix.com/2024/04/18/full-jury-selected-in-trumps-criminal-trial-on-hush-money-charges/?

Trump trial day 4 highlights: Appeals court refuses to halt hush money case

A full jury of 12 New Yorkers and 6 alternates has been seated in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial, setting the stage for opening statements next week in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

https://apnews.com/live/trump-trial-jury-updates?

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Trump was forced to listen silently as potential jurors offered their unvarnished assessments of him

NEW YORK (AP) — He seems “selfish and self-serving,” said one woman.

https://apnews.com/article/trump-trial-jurors-hush-money-criticism-b4fe05a61ed566a587523d1120b46a76?

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⚖️ Today: Trump opening arguments
mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fgraphics.axios.co
Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

For the first time in history, prosecutors — beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET today in Manhattan — will present a criminal case against a former American president to a jury.

  • After opening arguments, David Pecker — the former National Enquirer publisher who bought stories about Donald Trump in order to bury them ("catch and kill") is expected to be the first prosecution witness.
  • The trial could keep Trump occupied four days a week for the next five weeks or more.

🗞️ Liz Cheney, former vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee, writes in a New York Times op-ed today that the Supreme Court should rule swiftly on Trump's immunity claim so the Jan. 6 case can be tried before the election:

"I know how Mr. Trump's delay tactics work. ... If Mr. Trump's tactics prevent his Jan. 6 trial from proceeding in the ordinary course, he will also have succeeded in concealing critical evidence from the American people."

Gift link.

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Trump trial live updates: David Pecker called as first witness in hush money case

For the first time in history, prosecutors presented a criminal case against a former American president to a jury, accusing Trump of a scheme to prevent damaging stories about his personal life from becoming public.

https://apnews.com/live/trump-trial-updates-opening-statements?

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Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump tried to illegally influence the 2016 presidential election by preventing damaging stories about his personal life from becoming public, a prosecutor told jurors Monday at the start of the former president’s historic hush money trial.

https://apnews.com/article/trump-trial-hush-money-opening-stormy-daniels-6beee9b99114898ee0dd60185d43bac5?

phkrause

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⚖️ Trump tempts fate on gag order
Photo illustration of Donald Trump speaking with one finger raised repeating into infinity
 

Photo illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

 

NEW YORK — Facing a hearing this morning over whether he violated the gag order in his criminal case, former President Trump tempted fate yesterday by assailing a key witness — his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, Axios' Erin Doherty and Sophia Cai report.

  • "When are they going to look at all the lies that Cohen did in the last trial?" Trump said outside the courtroom.

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly tested the court order, which bars him from commenting on witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and jurors.

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.axios.com%
Former President Trump awaits the start of yesterday's session in Manhattan criminal court. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/Pool via AP

Judge Juan Merchan today will put Trump's trial on hold for a couple of hours to hear prosecutors' request to hold the ex-president in contempt for violating the order.

  • For weeks, Trump has dared Merchan to do just that, saying the gag is hurting his campaign and his ability to defend himself.

Prosecutors have accused Trump of violating the gag order seven times.

  • Merchan could fine Trump for each violation.

phkrause

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Tabloid publisher says he pledged to be Trump campaign’s ‘eyes and ears’ during 2016 race

NEW YORK (AP) — A veteran tabloid publisher testified Tuesday that he pledged to be Donald Trump ‘s “eyes and ears” during his 2016 presidential campaign, recounting how he promised the then-candidate that he would help suppress harmful stories and even arranged to purchase the silence of a doorman.

https://apnews.com/article/trump-trial-hush-money-national-enquirer-d44d4a7ce66cc08edb5981b3afb882ba?

phkrause

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Trump v. gag order

Former President Trump keeps testing the limits of the gag order in his hush-money trial.

  • "You're losing all credibility with the court," Judge Juan Merchan told one of Trump's attorneys, Todd Blanche, today after Blanche argued that Trump has simply been responding to political attacks in his capacity as a candidate.
  • The judge honed in on comments Trump made outside the courthouse yesterday, attacking his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who is a witness in the case.

🗣️ Trump responded today with an all-caps post on Truth Social calling Merchan "highly conflicted, to put it mildly," and saying he should recuse himself.

  • Merchan did not rule Tuesday on whether Trump has violated his gag order, but he told Blanche that his defense of Trump on that point wasn't especially persuasive. "You've presented nothing," he said.

Go deeper.

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