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Trump’s history-making hush-money trial begins with challenge of picking a jury

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Donald Trump arrived Monday at a New York court for the start of jury selection in his hush-money trial, marking a singular moment in American history as the former president answers to criminal charges that he falsified business records in order to stifle stories about his sex life.
Donald Trump arrived Monday at a New York court for the start of jury selection in his hush-money trial, marking a singular moment in American history as the former president answers to criminal charges that he falsified business records in order to stifle stories about his sex life.
The first trial of any former U.S. commander in chief will unfold as Trump vies to reclaim the White House, creating a remarkable split-screen spectacle of the presumptive Republican nominee spending his days as a criminal defendant while also campaigning for the presidency. He’s blended those roles over the last year by presenting himself, on the campaign trail and on social media, as victim of politically motivated prosecutions designed to derail his candidacy.
After a norm-shattering presidency shadowed by years of investigations, the trial amounts to a historic courtroom reckoning for Trump, who now faces four indictments charging him with crimes ranging from hoarding classified documents to plotting to overturn an election. Yet the political stakes are less clear since a conviction would not preclude him from becoming president and because the allegations in this case have been known for years and are seen as less grievous than the conduct behind the three other indictments.
The day began with Judge Juan M. Merchan ruling on a variety of procedural pretrial motions as Trump sat hunched over in his seat and stared into a monitor directly in front of him on the defense table while evidence was shown.
The judge denied a defense request to recuse himself from the case after Trump‘s lawyers said he had a conflict of interest. He also said prosecutors could not play for the jury the 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump was captured discussing grabbing women sexually without their permission. However, prosecutors will be allowed to question witnesses about the recording, which became public in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign.
Prosecutors also asked Monday for Merchan to fine Trump $3,000 over social media posts that they said violated the judge’s gag order barring him from attacking witnesses. Last week, he used his Truth Social platform to call his former lawyer Michael Cohen and the adult film actor Stormy Daniels “two sleaze bags who have, with their lies and misrepresentations, cost our Country dearly!”
“The defendant has demonstrated his willingness to flout the order.

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