Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Agreement on seven jurors in the bribery case against Trump

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An enraged Donald Trump has been ordered to be present in court during the case where he is accused of paying porn star Stormy Daniels hush money to get her to keep quiet about a sexual relationship the two had. Photo: AP / NTB

Of NTB | 17.04.2024 00:33:03

Policy: During the questioning of potential jurors, both parties in the case try to exclude people they suspect of being either critical or positive towards the man on the dock.

Donald Trump is the first former president in US history to be indicted in a criminal case, and the pressure is even greater as he hopes to return to the White House after November’s presidential election.

During the initial phase, potential jurors themselves were given the opportunity to withdraw if they felt they could not be impartial, or other circumstances dictated that they should not sit on the jury.

When the prosecution finished, it was Trump’s defenders’ turn to repeat the process.

When Tuesday’s court session had ended, seven jurors had been approved by both parties in the case, while the remaining five, as well as six deputies, have yet to be selected.

The so-called hush money was paid via Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen just before the presidential election in 2016, allegedly so that Clifford would keep a close eye on the fact that she and Trump had had sex in a hotel ten years earlier.

If he is found guilty after the indictment, he risks prison. However, legal experts believe that fines are more likely.

The selection of jury members is therefore seen as very important for both parties in the case, and it is expected that the process may take several days. Only when the jury is in place can the court proceedings begin, and they may extend well into the presidential election campaign.

To emphasize how sensitive the case is, potential jurors have been promised complete anonymity throughout the process. This is to protect them against attempts at threats, attacks or attempts at bribery.

– Right now I should have been in Pennsylvania and Florida, as well as in many other states, to run an election campaign, he said on Tuesday and accused the judge of being a “Trump hater”.

While Trump sat in court in New York on Tuesday, President Joe Biden visited his hometown of Scranton in Pennsylvania, one of the so-called swing states that he narrowly won in 2020.

As early as next week, the judge has announced a hearing to determine whether Trump should be punished for having shown contempt of court by breaking a ban on making such findings against those involved.

– It is unclear how undecided voters will view all this, but they will possibly be repulsed, says Professor John Coffee at Columbia Law School.

One case concerns classified documents from his time as president. They were found illegally stored at his home in Florida, and Trump is charged with violating the US Espionage Act and for having given a false statement when he got the FBI at his door.

He himself denies criminal guilt and claims that as president he had the authority to declassify the documents and therefore could have them.

Trump is also accused of trying to undermine the election results in the state of Georgia in 2020, when he lost to Joe Biden.

He is also charged with other attempts to reject the election results, as well as for having contributed to the storming of the congress building on 6 January 2021.

That day, Trump gave a speech to thousands of supporters, who then entered the congressional building in an attempt to prevent Biden from being declared the winner of the election.

Trump has succeeded in having these trials postponed, and they will probably not open until after the presidential election on 5 November.

When Monday was over, half of the 96 on the list were out of the picture. The prosecution then had the opportunity to question the rest about everything from media habits, education, any monetary contributions to parties or politicians and posts on social media.

Trump is charged with breaching the Accounting Act in connection with a payment of 130,000 dollars, just over NOK 1.4 million, to Stephanie Clifford, better known as the porn actress Stormy Daniels.

For Trump to be convicted of the alleged fraud to cover up an embarrassing extramarital affair with a porn star, the twelve jurors must reach a unanimous verdict. If only one of them disagrees, Trump goes free.

The judge in the case, Juan Merchan, has ordered Trump to be present in the courtroom, which the 77-year-old is furious about.

Merchan has warned Trump against turning the case into a show by making loud outbursts in the courtroom, as well as harsh statements against the actors in social media.

Trump is also charged in three other cases, which are considered to be far more important than the one that has now been initiated.

(© NTB)

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