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Trump’s hush-money trial enters fourth day after difficult jury-selection process

In World
April 19, 2024

Donald Trump is set to appear in court for the fourth day of his hush-money trial on Friday after 12 jurors were selected on Thursday.

The jury selection process had been complicated because of the polarizing and high-profile defendant. Prospective juror had been grilled on their political leanings, their social media posts and many other facets of their lives.

Related: Trump’s hush-money trial: here’s what’s happened so far

On Thursday one juror raised concerns that her identity had been discovered, especially after she had been described in the media. She was later excused and judge Juan Merchan then ruled that some identifying characteristics – such as a juror’s place of employment – could not be made public.

Meanwhile, Trump has been present throughout, sitting largely impassively in court but also his Truth Social media account has been posting up a storm, leading to multiple accusations by prosecutors that the former US president has violated a gag order and should be held in contempt of court.

A hearing is set to be held on that issue on 23 April.

The case centers on a $130,000 payment that Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, made during the 2016 election campaign to Stormy Daniels to prevent her claims of an affair with Trump from becoming public.

Related: The jurors: who is on the Trump trial jury?

Prosecutors say Trump obscured the true nature of the payments in internal records when his company reimbursed Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 and is set to be a star witness for the prosecution. Trump has denied an affair with Daniels, and his lawyers argue that the payments to Cohen were legitimate legal expenses.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The trial is the first criminal trial of a former US president to hit an American courtroom but three other issues – on Trump’s conduct during the January 6 insurrection, the keeping of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and attempt to subvert the 2020 election in Georgia – are also playing out. However, Trump’s lawyers have so far successfully delayed those cases.

Despite those legal problems Trump remains virtually guaranteed to win the Republican nomination for president and face off again against Joe Biden in November. Trump is frequently narrowly ahead of Biden in head to head polling, especially in the key swing states that a candidate must win to gain the White House.

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