Seven jurors seated on the second day of Trump’s New York hush-money trial

Seven jurors have been selected to serve in the criminal trial of former United States President Donald Trump in New York, marking a brisk pace for the proceedings so far.

The second day of the historic trial concluded on Tuesday with more haggling over jury selection — but despite early indications that the process could stretch on for weeks, the day ended with more than a third of the jurors needed being seated.

Ultimately, 12 jurors and six alternates must be named before the court can hear opening arguments in the case.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and the jurors are expected to weigh the charges against him and render a verdict.

But Tuesday’s proceedings were studded with warnings about the need for fairness, impartiality and decorum in the court — comments directed both at prospective jurors and Trump himself.

A historic trial

The New York proceedings make Trump the first US president, past or present, to stand trial on criminal charges.

The trial results from one of four criminal indictments Trump faces: two on the state level and two on the federal level.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg first announced the New York charges in March 2023. Only on Monday, after months of delays and pre-trial proceedings, did the trial begin in earnest.

The prosecution’s case hinges on whether the hush-money payments to Daniels could be violations of state and federal election laws.

Daniels claims to have had an affair with Trump, something he denies. Prosecutors hope to make the case that the hush-money payments were aimed at stemming bad press during the waning days of the 2016 presidential election, which Trump ultimately won.

Jury selection started on Monday, with prosecutors, defence lawyers and the presiding judge, Juan Merchan, all weighing in on whether candidates could be impartial in evaluating the case.

But the first day of the trial highlighted the challenges of determining who should be chosen. An initial group of 96 jurors appeared in court on Monday, and very quickly, Judge Merchan dismissed more than half of them after they indicated they would struggle to be impartial towards the former president.

Not a single juror, therefore, was seated on Monday. But Tuesday was a different story.

Source: Aljazeera

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