Jury Selection Begins At Trump's Landmark Criminal Trial In New York

Jury selection begins at Trump's landmark criminal trial in New York

New York, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Apr, 2024) Donald Trump's New York criminal trial opened Monday in a historic first for a US ex-president -- and a seismic twist to an already explosive 2024 election where the Republican is seeking to defy multiple scandals and return to power.

Trump has repeatedly described the hush money case as a sham.

But reality set in for the 77-year-old, hard-right Republican as Judge Juan Merchan issued the routine warning for criminal defendants that he will have to attend proceedings in the gritty Manhattan courthouse daily -- or face arrest.

Merchan also warned Trump against repeating his frequent past attempts to disrupt hearings with incendiary social media posts and courtroom outbursts.

The judge scheduled a hearing next week for the prosecution to argue that Trump should already be held in contempt for violating a partial gag order restricting him from attacking individuals connected to the case.

Selection of 12 jurors -- given anonymity to protect them from what the judge says is risk of bribery or even physical harm -- is expected to be a tortuous process.

Of the first batch of 96 prospective panelists sworn in, at least 50 were quickly excused after they said they could not be fair and impartial in a case involving one of the most famous -- and controversial -- men in the world.

Nine others were allowed to leave after stating there were compelling reasons they could not serve.

The process could go on as long as two weeks, according to one of Trump's lawyers.

The Republican presidential candidate is accused of falsifying business records in a scheme to cover up an alleged extramarital sexual encounter with adult film actress Stormy Daniels to shield his first election campaign, in 2016, from last-minute upheaval.

He faces three other criminal cases centered on his hoarding of top-secret documents after leaving office and his alleged unprecedented attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.