Donald Trump Announces 2016 White House Bid

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12 jurors have been picked for Donald Trump’s hush money trial. Selection of alternates ongoing
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Michael R. Sisak, Jennifer Peltz, Eric Tucker And Jake Offenhartz
Published Apr 18, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 5 minute read

NEW YORK (AP) — A jury of 12 people was seated Thursday in former President Donald Trump’s history-making hush money trial, propelling the proceedings closer to opening statements and the start of weeks of dramatic testimony.


The court quickly turned to selecting alternate jurors.


The jury includes a sales professional, a software engineer, a security engineer, an English teacher, a speech therapist, multiple lawyers, an investment banker and a retired wealth manager.

The first-ever trial of a former American president will unfold in the middle of this year’s race for the White House, ensuring that the legal troubles of the presumptive Republican nominee will be a dominant issue in the contest against Democratic incumbent Joe Biden.

The trial will almost certainly feature unflattering testimony about the Trump’s personal life before he became president, with allegations that he falsifying business records to suppress stories in the final days of the 2016 election about his sexual relationships.


The jury selection process appeared wobbly earlier in the day when two jurors were dismissed, one after expressing doubt about her ability to be fair following disclosure of details about her identity and the other over concerns that some of his answers in court may have been inaccurate.

But lawyers who began the day with only five jurors settled on the remaining seven for the panel in quick succession, along with one alternate. Judge Juan Merchan has said his goal is to have six alternates.

In other developments, prosecutors asked for Trump to be held in contempt over a series of social media posts this week, and the judge barred reporters from identifying jurors’ employers after expressing privacy concerns.

The trial centers on a $130,000 payment that Cohen made shortly before the 2016 election to porn actor Stormy Daniels to prevent her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump from becoming public in the race’s final days.


Prosecutors say Trump obscured the true nature of the payments in internal records when his company reimbursed Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2018 and is expected to be a star witness for the prosecution.

Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, and his lawyers argue that the payments to Cohen were legitimate legal expenses.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He could get up to four years in prison if convicted, though it’s not clear that the judge would opt to put him behind bars. Trump would almost certainly appeal any conviction.

Appeals and legal wrangling have caused delays in the other three cases charging Trump with plotting to overturn the 2020 election results and with illegally hoarding classified documents.


The jury selection process picked up momentum Tuesday with the selection of seven jurors. But on Thursday, Merchan revealed in court that one of the seven, a cancer nurse, had “conveyed that after sleeping on it overnight she had concerns about her ability to be fair and impartial in this case.”

And though jurors’ names are being kept confidential, the woman told the judge and the lawyers that she had doubts after she said aspects of her identity had been made public.

“Yesterday alone I had friends, colleagues and family push things to my phone regarding questioning my identity as a juror,” she said. “I don’t believe at this point that I can be fair and unbiased and let the outside influences not affect my decision making in the courtroom.”


A second seated juror was dismissed after prosecutors raised concerns that he may not have been honest in answering a jury selection question by saying that he had never been accused or convicted of a crime.

The IT professional was summoned to court to answer questions after prosecutors said they found an article about a person with the same name who had been arrested in the 1990s for tearing down political posters pertaining to the political right in suburban Westchester County.

A prosecutor also disclosed that a relative of the man may have been involved in a deferred prosecution agreement in the 1990s with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is prosecuting Trump’s case.

Because the juror was questioned Thursday at the judge’s bench, off-microphone and out of earshot of reporters, it was not known whether the man confirmed or denied either instance was connected to him.


The process of picking a jury is a critical phase of any criminal trial but especially so when the defendant is a former president and the presumptive Republican nominee. Prospective jurors have been grilled on their social media posts, personal lives and political views as the lawyers and judge search for biases that would prevent them from being impartial.

Inside the court, there’s broad acknowledgment of the futility in trying to find jurors without knowledge of Trump. A prosecutor this week said that lawyers were not looking for people who had been “living under a rock for the past eight years.”

After dismissing from the jury the nurse who had already been selected, Merchan ordered journalists in court not to report prospective jurors’ answers to questions about their current and former employers.


“We just lost, probably, what probably would have been a very good juror for this case, and the first thing that she said was she was afraid and intimidated by the press, all the press, and everything that had happened,” Merchan said after dismissing the juror.

Prosecutors had asked that the employer inquiries be axed from the jury questionnaire. Defense lawyer Todd Blanche responded that “depriving us of the information because of what the press is doing isn’t the answer.”

The district attorney’s office on Monday sought a $3,000 fine for Trump for three Truth Social posts they said violated the order. Since then, prosecutors said he made seven additional posts that they believe violate the order.

Several of the posts involved an article that referred to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as a “serial perjurer,” and one from Wednesday repeated a claim by a Fox News host that liberal activists were lying to get on the jury, said prosecutor Christopher Conroy.

Trump lawyer Emil Bove said Cohen “has been attacking President Trump in public statements,” and Trump was just replying.

The judge had already scheduled a hearing for next week on the prosecution’s request for contempt sanctions over Trump’s posts.
 

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spaminator

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Trump loses bid to halt Jan. 6 lawsuits while he fights criminal charges in the 2020 election case
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Alanna Durkin Richer
Published Apr 18, 2024 • 2 minute read

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump lost a bid Thursday to pause a string of lawsuits accusing him of inciting the U.S. Capitol attack, while the former president fights his 2020 election interference criminal case in Washington.


U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington denied defense lawyers’ request to put the civil cases seeking to hold Trump responsible for the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on hold while the criminal case accusing him of conspiring to overturn his election defeat to President Joe Biden plays out.


It’s the latest legal setback for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, whose trial in a separate criminal case related to hush money payments made during the 2016 campaign began this week with jury selection in New York.

The lawsuits brought by Democratic lawmakers and police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 seek civil damages for harm they say they suffered during the attack, which aimed to stop Congress’ certification of Biden’s victory.


Trump has claimed he can’t be sued over the riot that left dozens of police officers injured, arguing that his words during a rally before the storming of the Capitol addressed “matters of public concern” and fell within the scope of absolute presidential immunity.

Washington’s federal appeals court ruled in December that the lawsuits can move forward, rejecting Trump’s sweeping claims that presidential immunity shields him from liability. The court, however, said Trump can continue to fight, as the cases proceed, to try to prove that his actions were taken in his official capacity as president.

In court papers filed last month, Trump’s lawyers told the judge that “basic fairness to criminal defendants” warrants pausing the civil cases until after the 2020 election criminal case is resolved. They argued that allowing the lawsuits to proceed could force Trump to “prematurely telegraph” his defense strategies in the criminal case.


Mehta, who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama, said the public has an interest in the prompt resolution of the civil lawsuits in addition to the criminal case. And the judge said “appropriate safeguards” can be put in place to allow for the lawsuits to advance without infringing on Trump’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments next week on Trump’s claim that he is immune from criminal prosecution in the election interference case brought by special counsel Jack Smith. The ruling will determine whether Trump will have to stand trial in the case accusing him of a sprawling conspiracy to stay in power after Americans voted him out of office.
 

spaminator

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Final jurors seated for Trump’s hush money case, with opening statements set for Monday
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jennifer Peltz, Michael R. Sisak, Jake Offenhartz and Alanna Durkin Richer
Published Apr 19, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 5 minute read

NEW YORK (AP) — The final jurors were seated Friday in Donald Trump’s hush money trial, and an appellate judge rejected the former president’s latest bid to halt the case as a hectic day in court set the stage for opening statements to begin Monday.


The panel of New Yorkers who will decide the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president took final shape after lawyers spent days quizzing dozens of potential jurors on whether they can impartially judge Trump in the city where he built his real estate empire before being elected in 2016.


The trial thrusts Trump’s legal problems into the heart of his hotly contested race against President Joe Biden, with Trump’s opponent likely to seize on unflattering and salacious testimony to make the case that the presumptive Republican nominee is unfit to return as commander in chief.

Trump, meanwhile, is using the prosecution as a political rallying cry, casting himself as a victim while juggling his dual role as criminal defendant and presidential candidate.


Judge Juan Merchan said lawyers will present opening statements Monday morning before prosecutors begin laying out their case alleging a scheme to cover up negative stories Trump feared would hurt his 2016 campaign. He has pleaded not guilty and says the stories were false.

Despite the failure of repeated previous attempts to delay the trial, a Trump attorney was in an appeals court hours after the jury was seated, arguing that Merchan rushed through jury selection and that Trump cannot get a fair trial in Manhattan.

“To think an impartial jury could be found in that period of time, I would respectfully submit, is untenable,” attorney Clifford Robert said.

Justice Marsha Michael denied the request just minutes after a brief hearing.


Back in the trial court, Merchan expressed frustration as Trump’s lawyers pressed to revisit a litany of pretrial rulings.

“At some point, you need to accept the court’s rulings,” Merchan said. “There’s nothing else to clarify. There’s nothing else to reargue. We’re going to have opening statements on Monday morning. This trial is starting.”

Just after the jury was seated, emergency crews responded to a park outside the courthouse, where a man had set himself on fire. The man took out pamphlets espousing conspiracy theories and spread them around the park before dousing himself in a flammable substance and setting himself aflame, officials said. He was in critical condition Friday afternoon.


Trump has spent the week sitting quietly in the courtroom as lawyers pressed potential jurors on their views about him in a search for any bias that would preclude them from hearing the case. During breaks in the proceedings, he has railed against the case on social media or to TV cameras in the hallway, calling it a politically motivated “witch hunt.”


“This Trial is a Long, Rigged, Endurance Contest, dealing with Nasty, Crooked People, who want to DESTROY OUR COUNTRY,” he wrote Friday on social media.

Over five days of jury selection, dozens of people were dismissed from the jury pool after saying they didn’t believe they could be fair. Others expressed anxiety about having to decide such a consequential case with outsized media attention, even though the judge has ruled that jurors’ names will be known only to prosecutors, Trump and their legal teams.

One woman who had been chosen to serve on the jury was dismissed Thursday after she raised concerns over messages she said she got from friends and family when aspects of her identity became public. On Friday, another woman broke down in tears while being questioned by a prosecutor about her ability to decide the case based only on evidence presented in court.


“I feel so nervous and anxious right now,” the woman said. “I’m so sorry. I wouldn’t want someone who feels like this to judge my case either. I don’t want to waste the court’s time.”

As more potential jurors were questioned Friday, Trump appeared to lean over at the defense table, scribbling on some papers and exchanging notes with one of his lawyers. He occasionally perked up and gazed at the jury box, including when one would-be juror said he had volunteered in a “get out the vote” effort for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. That man was later excused.

Trump spoke to reporters before Friday’s proceedings got underway, lambasting a gag order that prosecutors have accused him of violating. Merchan has scheduled arguments for next week on prosecutors’ request to hold Trump in contempt of court and fine him for social media posts they say defy limits on what he can say about potential witnesses.


“The gag order has to come off. People are allowed to speak about me, and I have a gag order,” Trump said.

Merchan also heard arguments Friday on prosecutors’ request to bring up Trump’s prior legal entanglements if he takes the witness stand in the hush money case. Trump has said he wants to testify, but he is not required to and can always change his mind.

Manhattan prosecutors have said they want to question Trump about, among other cases, his recent civil fraud trial that resulted in a $454 million judgment after a judge found Trump had lied about his wealth for years. He is appealing that verdict. Merchan said he would rule on the matter in the coming days.

The trial centers on a $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, made to porn actor Stormy Daniels to prevent her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump from becoming public in the final days of the 2016 race.


Prosecutors say Trump obscured the true nature of the payments in internal records when his company reimbursed Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2018 and is expected to be a star witness for the prosecution.

Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, and his lawyers argue that the payments to Cohen were legitimate legal expenses.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He could get up to four years in prison if convicted, though it’s not clear that the judge would opt to put him behind bars. Trump would almost certainly appeal any conviction.

Trump is involved in four criminal cases, but it’s not clear that any others will reach trial before the November election. Appeals and legal wrangling have caused delays in the other three cases charging Trump with plotting to overturn the 2020 election results and with illegally hoarding classified documents.
 

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Police to review security outside courthouse hosting Trump’s trial after man sets himself on fire
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Apr 19, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

NEW YORK — Police officials said they were reviewing whether to restrict access to a public park outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial after a man set himself on fire there Friday.


“We may have to shut this area down,” New York City Police Department Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said at a news conference outside the courthouse, adding that officials would discuss the security plan soon.


Collect Pond Park has been a gathering spot for protesters, journalists and gawkers throughout Trump’s trial, which began with jury selection Monday.

Crowds there have been small and largely orderly, but around 1:30 p.m. Friday a man there took out pamphlets espousing conspiracy theories, tossed them around, then doused himself in an accelerant and set himself on fire, officials and witnesses said.

A large number of police officers were nearby when it happened. Some officers and bystanders rushed to the man’s aid. He was hospitalized in critical condition Friday afternoon.


The man, who police said had travelled from Florida to New York in the last few days, hadn’t breached any security checkpoints to get into the park. Through Friday, the streets and sidewalks in the area around the courthouse were generally wide open, though the side street where Trump enters and leaves the building is off limits.

People accessing the floor of the large courthouse where the trial is taking place have to pass through a pair of metal detectors.

Authorities said they were also reviewing the security protocols outside the courthouse.

“We are very concerned. Of course we are going to review our security protocols,” NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said.
 

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Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Apr 20, 2024 • 1 minute read

NEW YORK — A man who doused himself in an accelerant and set himself on fire outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial has died, police said.


The New York City Police Department told The Associated Press early Saturday that the man was declared dead by staff at an area hospital.


The man was in Collect Pond Park around 1:30 p.m. Friday when he took out pamphlets espousing conspiracy theories, tossed them around, then doused himself in an accelerant and set himself on fire, officials and witnesses said.

A large number of police officers were nearby when it happened. Some officers and bystanders rushed to the aid of the man, who was hospitalized in critical condition at the time.

The man, who police said recently traveled from Florida to New York, had not breached any security checkpoints to access the park.

The park outside the courthouse has been a gathering spot for protesters, journalists and gawkers throughout Trump’s trial, which began with jury selection Monday.

Through Friday, the streets and sidewalks in the area around the courthouse were generally wide open and crowds have been small and largely orderly.

Authorities said they were also reviewing the security protocols, including whether to restrict access to the park. The side street where Trump enters and leaves the building is off limits.

“We may have to shut this area down,” New York City Police Department Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said at a news conference outside the courthouse Friday, adding that officials would discuss the security plan soon.
 

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Trump was forced to listen silently as potential jurors offered their unvarnished assessments of him
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jill Colvin
Published Apr 20, 2024 • 6 minute read

NEW YORK — He seems “selfish and self-serving,” said one woman.


The way he carries himself in public “leaves something to be desired,” said another.

His “negative rhetoric and bias,” said another man, is what is “most harmful.”

Over the past week, Donald Trump has been forced to sit inside a frigid New York courtroom and listen to a parade of potential jurors in his criminal hush money trial share their unvarnished assessments of him.

It’s been a dramatic departure for the former president and presumptive 2024 GOP nominee, who is accustomed to spending his days in a cocoon of cheering crowds and constant adulation. Now a criminal defendant, Trump will instead spend the next several weeks subjected to strict rules that strip him of control over everything from what he is permitted to say to the temperature of the room.


“He’s the object of derision. It’s his nightmare. He can’t control the script. He can’t control the cinematography. He can’t control what’s being said about him. And the outcome could go in a direction he really doesn’t want,” said Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer and critic.

While Trump is occasionally confronted by protesters, generally he lives a life sheltered from criticism. After leaving the White House, Trump moved to his Mar-a-Lago waterfront club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is surrounded by doting paid staff and dues-paying members who have shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to be near him.

Many days, Trump heads to his nearby golf course, where he is “swarmed by people wanting to shake his hand, take pictures of him, and tell him how amazing he is,” said Stephanie Grisham, a longtime aide who broke with Trump after the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.


When he returns to Mar-a-Lago in the afternoon, members lunching on the patio often stand and applaud. He receives the same standing ovation at dinner, which often ends with Trump playing DJ on his iPad, blasting favourites like “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown.

Grisham, who spent long stretches traveling with Trump and at Mar-a-Lago during his 2016 campaign and as White House press secretary, described staff constantly serving as cheerleaders and telling Trump what he wanted to hear. To avoid angry outbursts, they requested motorcade routes that avoided protests and they left a stack of positive press clips every morning on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

Now, Trump faces a trial that could result in felony convictions and possible prison time. And he will have to listen to more critics, without being able to punch back verbally — something he revels in doing.


Among the expected witnesses in the trial are his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, and the porn actor who alleged she had sex with him, Stormy Daniels. Both have savaged him in interviews and books as well as on social media.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said Trump proved during his first week in court that “he will remain defiant in the face of this unprecedented political lawfare” and said, “It is clear that his support from the American people will only grow as they watch Joe Biden, Alvin Bragg and the Democrats putting on this bogus show trial six months before the election.” Bragg is the Manhattan district attorney.

New Yorkers who said they couldn’t approach the case fairly were excused during jury selection. But one of the women with the harshest assessments of him will be among those who will determine his fate on 34 counts of falsifying business records.


“I don’t like his persona, how he presents himself in public,” said the woman, who has lived in upper Manhattan for the last 15 years. The woman said she didn’t agree with some of Trump’s politics, which she called “outrageous.”

“He just seems very selfish and self-serving, so I don’t really appreciate that in any public servant,” she said, adding that while she doesn’t “know him as a person,” how he “portrays himself in public, it just seems to me it is not my cup of tea.”

Trump’s legal team took issue with her responses, but they were out of challenges by the time she was up for consideration.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan has withheld the names of prospective jurors for safety concerns.

On Friday, one prospective juror, who said she had attended the 2017 Women’s March protesting Trump’s inauguration, complained of the influence he has over his base.


“I think his rhetoric at times enables people to feel as if they have permission to discriminate or act on their negative impulses,” she said, citing people she has heard make homophobic or racist comments. Still, she said she didn’t have strong feelings about the former president and wasn’t sure of his current policy positions.

Another man said he’d grown up admiring the former president and business mogul’s real estate portfolio and even thinking he might someday live in Trump Tower. But he had come to oppose Trump’s “negative rhetoric and bias against people that he speaks about.”

At other times, lawyers read aloud social media posts from prospective jurors mocking Trump and celebrating his defeats.

One prospective juror, an older white woman, was struck from the jury pool by the judge after Trump’s legal team uncovered years-old social media posts that described Trump as a “racist, sexist” narcissist.


One of Trump’s attorneys called the posts “vitriolic.”

“She harbors a deep hatred for him,” said the lawyer, Susan Necheles. “She said that ‘I wouldn’t believe Donald Trump if his tongue were notarized”‘ and that he was “anathema” to everything she was taught about love.

Confronted with the posts inside the courtroom, the juror said she understood why they’d be concerning to the defence, but her views had evolved. “Election policies can get pretty spicy and Mr. Trump can get pretty spicy,” she said.

Merchan, the judge, also dismissed a man who in 2017 had shared a Facebook post celebrating the defeat of one of Trump’s policies in court. “Get him out and lock him up!” it read in part.

Court rules require Trump to be present throughout the trial. He can’t storm out of the courtroom like he did during a recent defamation trial. He is also barred by a gag order from attacking any of the jurors, including on his Truth Social platform.


He has already been admonished by Merchan for audibly uttering something and gesturing while one juror was answering questions.

“I will not tolerate any jurors being intimidated in this courtroom,” said Merchan, who previously warned Trump he could be sent to jail for engaging in disruptive behavior in court.

Trump’s assessments in the courthouse weren’t all bad, however, with a perhaps surprising number of potential jurors saying they had no strong opinions about one of the best known and most divisive men on the planet.

In fact, the process seemed to reveal more supporters than might be expected in a borough where President Joe Biden captured 87% of the vote in 2020.

One potential juror Thursday who spoke of Trump in glowing terms said he was “impressed” with Trump’s career as a successful businessman.


“I mean he was our president, pretty amazing. He is a businessman in New York. He has forged his way, you know, he made kind of history in terms of like where he started and where he has become,” said the man, who said he saw his own story similarly.

On Tuesday, another man expressed regret that he couldn’t juggle the trial with his job.

“Your Honour, as much as I would love to serve for New York and one of our great presidents, I could not give up my job for six-plus weeks,” he said.

Many said they had read his book “The Art of the Deal.”

Even the woman who criticized his persona and ended up on the jury anyway acknowledged his appeal to voters.

“Sometimes the way he may carry himself in public leaves something to be desired. At the same time, I can relate to sometimes being a bit unfiltered,” she said. “I see him speak to a lot of people in America. I think there is something to be said about that.”

— Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak, Jennifer Peltz and Jake Offenhartz contributed to this report.
 

Taxslave2

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So the way I'm reading this, Trump is going to get all charges dropped because so many potential jurors are openly proclaiming their bias.
 
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Dixie Cup

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He's tried, repeatedly, and keeps being refused because there's no reason to drop the charges.
The fact that the charges are "made up" apparently doesn't matter. There is no law on the books as to paying someone & signing an NDA. So they're "made up" & he should likely be found "innocent" - no one else who has done the same thing has ever been charged - for a reason. There's nothing illegal about what he did.
 

pgs

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The fact that the charges are "made up" apparently doesn't matter. There is no law on the books as to paying someone & signing an NDA. So they're "made up" & he should likely be found "innocent" - no one else who has done the same thing has ever been charged - for a reason. There's nothing illegal about what he did.
But , but Trump . He wants to destroy Democracy don’t you know . The end of baseball , apple pie and the American way .
 
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Tecumsehsbones

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The fact that the charges are "made up" apparently doesn't matter. There is no law on the books as to paying someone & signing an NDA. So they're "made up" & he should likely be found "innocent" - no one else who has done the same thing has ever been charged - for a reason. There's nothing illegal about what he did.
Unless you try to claim that these campaign expenses are business expenses.