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Trump trial day 4 highlights: Appeals court refuses to halt hush money case

Trump trial day 4 highlights: Appeals court refuses to halt hush money case

The jury is set in the hush money trial of Former President Donald Trump. It’s the first of Trump’s four criminal cases to reach trial, and it may be the only one to return a verdict before voters decide whether to elect the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

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Today’s live coverage has ended. Follow Monday’s live coverage of opening statements here.

A full jury of 12 New Yorkers and 6 alternates has been seated in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial, setting the stage for opening statements next week in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

Here’s what to know:

  • The jury: The list of 12 seated jurors includes a sales professional, a software engineer, an English teacher, multiple lawyers and an investment banker. Keeping them anonymous during selection came with its own set of challenges.
  • The case: Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records as part of a scheme to bury stories that he feared could hurt his 2016 campaign.
  • Man set himself on fire outside court: 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.

Editor’s Note: ϰϲ removed a LIVE feed from its YouTube channel outside the New York state courthouse where a trial for former U.S. President Donald Trump is being held because it showed a man setting himself on fire in a park across the street. Showing a potential suicide attempt does not meet AP standards. The deleted live feed of the courthouse has been replaced by a new one.

 
WATCH: Man who set himself on fire outside Trump hush money trial is in critical condition, police say
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A man who set himself on fire across the street from the courthouse where Donald Trump’s hush money trial is taking place is in critical condition.

 
Trump calls the trial a ‘witch hunt’
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Former President Donald Trump speaks with the media following proceedings in his trial, Friday, April 19, 2024, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York.  (Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump speaks with the media following proceedings in his trial, Friday, April 19, 2024, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York. (Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

Trump returned to the cameras to deliver a brief closing message following his first week as a criminal defendant.

“This is really a concerted witch hunt, very simple,” Trump charged to reporters.

The presumptive GOP nominee complained of his treatment in New York, calling out Arthur Engoron and Lewis Kaplan, the judges who heard his earlier New York civil fraud trial and defamation case.

“What’s happening here with the judicial system is an outrage,” he said, before casting the case, yet again, as an effort to damage his candidacy.

“This is the only way they think they can win but it’s not going to work,” he said.

 
Trump’s latest appeal has been denied
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An appeals court judge has once again denied a request by Trump’s attorneys to halt his criminal trial as they seek to have the case moved outside of Manhattan.

Justice Marsha Michael issued the ruling just minutes after a brief hearing. The arguments in the midlevel appeals court came hours after the jury selection process concluded in Trump’s criminal trial, which is currently taking place roughly two miles south.

The ruling will allow opening statements to take place as soon as Monday in Trump’s criminal trial.

 
Court is adjourned
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Trump left the courtroom without coming to speak to the cameras. But when asked whether he would testify, he turned his head and shouted, “Yes!”

 
No blanket immunity ruling from Merchan
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Merchan refused again to give Trump’s lawyers a blanket ruling excluding certain evidence from his time in the White House on presidential immunity grounds.

Rather, the judge said, Trump’s lawyers can argue for immunity on a piece-by-piece basis during the trial. The defense argues three of Trump’s 2018 tweets about Cohen and his 2018 financial disclosure report — all of which are publicly available — are official acts and therefore fall under presidential immunity. They also contend any testimony about official acts Trump took as president, such as the accounts of former White House staff, should be excluded.

 
Judge Merchan admonishes Trump’s lawyers
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As a taxing week of jury selection and legal arguments neared an end with yet more back-and-forth over legal particulars, the trial judge told Trump’s lawyers to stop importuning him to revisit his litany of pretrial rulings.

“I’ve entertained your arguments in good faith, I’ve handed down decisions, but 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.”

 
Trump’s lawyers fight to keep his other court cases out of this trial, Merchan to issue ruling in the coming days
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Trump’s lawyers are fighting to keep prosecutors from questioning him, if he testifies, about the outcome of his recent civil fraud trial as well as a separate defamation case.

In the fraud trial, state Judge Arthur Engoron found that Trump, his company and key executives deceived bankers and insurers for years by grossly padding his wealth on financial statements used to secure loans and coverage.

In the second case, a jury found that Trump defamed writer E. Jean Carroll after she accused him of sexual assault years earlier.

Trump lawyer Emil Bove argued those allegations, dating to the 1990s, are “too attenuated, too far back in time to call into question President Trump’s credibility at this trial.”

Trump has said he wants to testify at the hush money trial, but he is not required to and can always change his mind.

Judge Merchan said he would reserve judgment on whether prosecutors can ask Trump about his past legal setbacks if he chooses to testify. Merchan said he would issue a decision in the coming days.

 
A decision in the appeals court is expected this afternoon
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In a brief response, the appellate chief for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Steven Wu, accused Trump’s attorneys of mischaracterizing the jury selection process, which he described as “unusually detailed and careful.”

He added that Trump had “amplified and stoked the very press coverage” that had caused some jurors to reconsider if they could serve impartially.

“We have 18 ordinary New Yorkers ready to serve on Monday morning when this trial should begin,” Wu added. “It would be unfair to them and it would be unfair to the public for this trial to be delayed further.”

A decision on the appeal is expected this afternoon.

 
Over at the appellate court ...
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An attorney for Trump, Clifford Robert, is arguing before a midlevel appeals court that Judge Merchan has rushed through the process of jury selection in the hush money criminal case, preventing Trump from receiving a fair and impartial jury. He is arguing for an interim stay of the trial pending a motion to have the venue moved outside of Manhattan.

“The way that such a large cross section of people were immediately disqualified because of the biases they mentioned to the court is proof positive … to the predispositions of these people,” Robert said.

He described the speed of jury selection as “untenable,” accusing Merchan of failing to properly uncover bias among the prospective jurors. As an example, he cited a woman who was initially picked for the jury but asked to be removed the following day after acknowledging that she could not be fair.

 
Judge Merchan seals some evidence over objection from Trump’s lawyers
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Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors are sparring over the prosecution’s request to seal four pieces of evidence.

This includes phone records and approximately 39,000 contacts stored in Michael Cohen’s cell phone.

Prosecutors had sought to keep that evidence out of public view because it pertained to third parties not involved in the case. Judge Merchan agreed over the objections of Trump’s lawyers, who argued prosecutors were trying to make an end run around transparency and trampling Trump’s right to a public trial.

 
Trump is back in court
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He raised his fist before returning to the courtroom.

With jury selection done, there is now a hearing on prosecutors’ desire to question the former president, if he testifies, about his recent civil court losses.

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024. (Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024. (Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

 
Officials give update outside Manhattan courthouse
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The man who set himself on fire across the street from the courthouse is in critical condition in a burn unit, police said Friday.

The man first walked into the park around 1:30 p.m., took out pamphlets espousing conspiracy theories and spread them around the park before he doused himself in an accelerant and set himself on fire, officials said.

Officials believe the man had traveled from Florida to New York in the last few days.

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,” Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said.

 
NYPD is setting up for a news conference near the courthouse
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Officials will update the press after a man set himself on fire earlier Friday.

New York Police officers inspect a backpack left at the scene where a man lit himself on fire in a park outside Manhattan criminal court, Friday, April 19, 2024, in New York. Emergency crews rushed away a person on a stretcher after fire was extinguished outside the Manhattan courthouse where jury selection was taking place in former President Donald Trump's hush money criminal case. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

New York Police officers inspect a backpack left at the scene where a man lit himself on fire in a park outside Manhattan criminal court, Friday, April 19, 2024, in New York. Emergency crews rushed away a person on a stretcher after fire was extinguished outside the Manhattan courthouse where jury selection was taking place in former President Donald Trump’s hush money criminal case. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

 
Trump legal team asks state appellate court to intervene in hush money trial
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Donald Trump’s legal team has filed another application with a midlevel state appeals court Friday demanding that it intervene in the case. A hearing was scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

The documents weren’t immediately publicly available, but Trump’s lawyers have gone to the appeals court before trying to get the trial delayed or moved out of Manhattan. They have argued that Trump can’t get a fair trial there because of intense publicity. The trial judge had rejected that request.

 
Police are expected to hold a news conference at 2:45 p.m. after a man set himself on fire in the park across the street from the courthouse
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Passersby rushed to douse the flames and the person was rushed away on a stretcher by emergency crews.

 
Court was being dismissed for a break right as the fire broke out
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Judge Juan M. Merchan, seemingly unaware of what was unfolding outside, told newly selected jurors that opening statements are set for Monday at 9:30 a.m.

Merchan is expected to hold a hearing Friday at 3:15 p.m. on the prosecution’s desire to question Trump, should he testify, regarding his recent civil court losses.

 
JUST IN: Emergency crews rush away person on stretcher after fire extinguished outside court where Trump jury was just selected
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A person could be clearly seen lying on the ground on fire. People then rushed over with a fire extinguisher and worked to bat the flames away.

 
JUST IN: A full jury of 12 people and 6 alternates is seated in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York
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The newly seated alternates will now be sworn in.

 
A fifth alternate juror has been seated
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There is only one more alternate slot remaining.

 
WATCH: Jury selection could be nearing a close in Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York
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A third panel of potential jurors is set to be questioned in Donald Trump’s hush money case, drawing jury selection a step closer to completion in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

 
2 more alternate jurors have been selected
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Over half of the six alternates have been filled.

 
Wait, what’s an alternate juror?
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An alternate juror listens to the testimony, just like all the other jurors, but doesn’t join in the deliberations unless one of the main jurors needs to drop out or is removed.

 
A second alternate has been selected
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Four additional slots still need to be filled.

 
One possible juror evokes multiple facets of Trump’s public persona
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A Scandinavian investment professional gave a thoughtful answer about Trump, evaluating him as a man, a business mogul and a politician before concluding he had a “neutral, leaning positive” opinion of the ex-president.

When asked by defense lawyer Susan Necheles about his opinion of Trump, he said the query was “one question that’s asking five or six different things.”

“I think that’s why people kind of struggle with this question,” he said, explaining that he saw Trump as a family man and liked his tax and economic policies but diverged from him on women’s rights and growing religious influence on the Republican party’s policies.

 
‘He’s a New Yorker’
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Only a few lifelong New Yorkers are remaining on the latest panel of prospective jurors. One of them, a chef raised on the Lower East Side, said his time spent in the city had left him unfazed by Trump’s celebrity.

“He’s a New Yorker, I’m a New Yorker,” the man said. “We don’t get really get starstruck or care about anything like that.”

 
Trump gives supporters ‘permission to discriminate,’ said one potential juror
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Under questioning from one of Trump’s lawyers, a potential candidate said she felt that the former president’s rhetoric emboldens his supporters to feel like they have “permission to discriminate or act on their negative impulses.” She described interactions where people used the president’s name to justify “homophobic” and “racist” comments.

The prospective juror also said she attended the 2017 Women’s March that followed his inauguration but saw it as “more of a women’s solidarity event” than an anti-Trump protest. But she said she didn’t have strong feelings about the former president at the moment and wasn’t sure of his current policy positions.

 
Potential jurors continue to be dismissed over anxiety
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Another individual was dismissed Friday after blurting out that she felt anxious during a separate panelist’s questioning.

“With this line of questioning, I’m getting the same anxiety and self-doubt” that other excused jurors were raising, the woman said. Her comment came as Trump lawyer Necheles asked a different jury candidate several questions about her ability to fairly evaluate the credibility of a witness like ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who went to prison for lying to Congress and other crimes.

A half-dozen potential jurors have been excused from consideration on Friday, several citing anxiety and nervousness brought on by potentially being connected to the high-profile trial.

 
In subsequent questioning, Trump’s gaze is more focused on the jury box
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He watched on as prospective jurors affirmed that they could find the former president guilty if the allegations against him were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

As defense lawyer Susan Necheles kicked off her questioning, attorney Todd Blanche, sitting to Trump’s right, leaned back and handed the former president a small, folded slip of paper. He opened and read the note before folding it up and peering back at the jury. The two men have been passing notes all morning.

 
After breaking down in tears, a potential juror is dismissed
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The woman was being questioned by a prosecutor about her ability to decide the case based only on courtroom evidence when she began to cry.

“I feel so nervous and anxious right now,” the woman said through tears. “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. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.”

After conferring briefly with the prosecution and defense, Judge Juan M. Merchan dismissed the woman from consideration.

The selection process has weighed heavily on other prospective jurors too, with some describing feelings of rising anxiety and stress as the week has gone on. As they contend with the historic trial and outsized media attention, those called into the courtroom are also answering a lengthy list of personal questions, revealing details about their family life and brushes with the law that have stirred other emotional responses.

 
Trump returns to the courtroom
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He waved to cameras but did not answer questions.|

Former President Donald Trump steps outside the courtroom during a break at Manhattan criminal in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024.  (Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump steps outside the courtroom during a break at Manhattan criminal in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024. (Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

 
They’re not just potential jurors. They’re also amateur chefs, musicians and boxers
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A section of the questionnaire asking would-be jurors what they like to do in their spare time has revealed an eclectic array of hobbies and passions from the pool.

During the week, the court has been introduced to Manhattanites who enjoy metalworking, scuba diving and seeing the New York Philharmonic. There were also several yogis, hikers and one man who said he cleans his local dog park as “meditation.”

One woman said she takes her kids to Rubik’s Cube competitions and another said she used to be an amateur boxer, though noted that “black eyes were frowned upon” in her profession. Earlier in the week, a prospective juror joked that he had no spare time, adding later, “I guess my hobby is my family.”

 
Trump leaves the courtroom
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He did not speak as he left the hallway.

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024.( Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024.( Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

 
Queens man seeks wife
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Asked if he was married, a Queens-born man joked that he’d been “trying to find a wife in my spare time — it’s not working.” Trump, also from Queens, perked up at the remark, shooting the man a grin.

 
(Less than) 6 degrees of Donald Trump
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New York is the most populous city in the U.S., but Donald Trump‘s criminal trial is showing it can also feel a lot like a small town. A prospective juror said she had connections to not one but two people who’ve been in Trump’s orbit: the former president’s ex-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who backed Trump in 2020 but later ran against him.

The woman disclosed that she works at the same company as a Cohen relative — though they’ve never crossed paths — and that someone in her family is friends with Christie. Despite that, she assured the court that she could be fair and impartial.

 
Trump passes notes with his lawyers, rarely looking up at the jurors
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When a prospective juror said he’d volunteered in a “get out the vote” effort for Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Trump, the former president perked up and gazed at the jury box. Trump had spent all morning jotting things down notes and exchanging them with his lawyers, but the comment about his 2016 Democratic rival caught his attention.

Other that the Clinton moment, Trump hasn’t looked up much at the prospective jurors.

After looking over and smiling earlier in the week at a potential juror who mentioned reading several of his books, Trump kept his eyes locked on his papers when a man Friday said he’d read “The Art of the Deal” 10-15 years ago when he was thinking of going into the real estate field.

 
Another possible juror is excused after expressing concerns over being impartial
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Like some others this week, the woman didn’t indicate concerns about being fair and impartial during the initial screening but apparently developed misgivings later. After thinking about the trial last night, “I don’t think I can be impartial,” she said.

She is the third prospective juror who has been excused today.

 
‘This is more stressful than I thought’
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A Scandinavian native who works in technology said he wouldn’t have a problem impartially judging a former president since he comes from a country “where the difference between people in power and regular people is less.”

Still, as the questioning continued he stopped at one point to sigh, saying, “This is more stressful than I thought.”

The man said he aims to consume news from multiple sources, sometimes listening to NPR and Fox News podcasts on the same walk. As a hobby, he said he enjoys cleaning his local dog park.

 
Trump perks up after potential juror mentions White House Instagram account
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As potential jurors ran through the questionnaire, Trump appeared to lean over at the defense table, scribbling on some papers and occasionally exchanging notes with his lawyers.

But when one prospective juror mentioned that he follows the White House Instagram account, including when Trump was in office, the former president looked up and toward the jury box.

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024.  (Sarah Yenesel/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024. (Sarah Yenesel/Pool Photo via AP)

 
‘I don’t believe in watching news’
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The potential juror, a woman with adult children, said that her husband sends her news that seems important. She said that she has no strong opinions on Trump and that nothing would influence her decision.

 
Questioning is underway
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The questionnaire round began with a prospective juror saying she has anxiety and isn’t sure she can serve. She said that she takes medication for the condition and that as more days pass, “I don’t think I will be able to be completely fair” and focused on the trial. Merchan excused her.

Because there are 22 jurors, Judge Merchan granted a prosecutor’s request for five extra minutes of questioning. Instead of 20 minutes, prosecutors will have 25 minutes to inquire of the group.

 
Court is now in session
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Trump shuffled through papers at the defense table after walking into court for the fourth day of jury selection.

He turned stoic and stern as news photographers came in to snap pictures of him, as is the daily custom before court resumes.

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024. (Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Friday, April 19, 2024. (Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

Twenty-two possible jurors are being brought in as jury selection is set to resume. As many as five alternate jurors must be selected before jury selection is over.

 
As hush money trial reaches day 4, Trump loses bid to halt separate Jan. 6 lawsuits
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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 a separate criminal case accusing him of conspiring to overturn his election defeat to President Joe Biden plays out.

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.

▶ Keep up with all four cases using ϰϲ’ Trump trial tracker.

 
Trump arrives at court: ‘The gag order has to come off’
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Speaking to reporters inside the lower Manhattan courthouse, the former president once again railed against the trial, demanding Judge Juan M. Merchan lift a gag order limiting what he can say publicly about witnesses.

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

Prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office are currently looking to fine Trump over violating his gag order after disparaging witnesses in the case on social media. A hearing is set for next week.

 
WATCH: Trump speaks outside courtroom after 12 jurors are seated for his hush money trial
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A jury of 12 people was seated Thursday in former President Donald Trump’s history-making hush money trial. (AP Production: Javier Arciga)

 
Stuck in court, Trump attempts to wield legal jeopardy to his political advantage
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Because the first-ever trial of a former American president is unfolding in New York during this year’s race for the White House, the presumptive Republican nominee will spend his days in court confronted by salacious and unflattering testimony about his personal life while simultaneously campaigning to reclaim the office he held for four years.

He’s made clear his determination to use his legal jeopardy, already a central issue in the race against Democratic incumbent Joe Biden, to his advantage. After a full day of jury selection, he complained to reporters that he should have been out campaigning but was in court instead for what he said was a “very unfair trial.”

“Everybody’s outraged by it,” he said. “You know the whole world’s watching this New York scam.”

Former President Donald Trump holds up news clippings as he speaks following his trial at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump holds up news clippings as he speaks following his trial at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool Photo via AP)

 
Former President Trump has left Trump Tower
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He raised his right fist as he headed to his motorcade.

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Friday, April 19, 2024, in New York. Jury selection in the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump is set to resume after a frenetic day that eventually saw all 12 jurors sworn in along with one alternate juror. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Friday, April 19, 2024, in New York. Jury selection in the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump is set to resume after a frenetic day that eventually saw all 12 jurors sworn in along with one alternate juror. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

 
Trials collide as prosecutors hope to question Trump over separate civil fraud case
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Judge Juan M. Merchan is expected to hold a hearing Friday to consider a request from prosecutors to bring up Trump’s prior legal entanglements if he takes the stand in the hush money case.

Manhattan prosecutors have said they want to question Trump about 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.

 
In court Thursday, the juror count remained shifty
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Former President Donald Trump, second from left, watches juror number d2 speak at the podium to Judge Juan Merchan in Manhattan criminal court regarding her desire to be excused from the jury after " sleeping on it" and having concerns about her ability to be fair and impartial, Thursday, April 18, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump, second from left, watches juror number d2 speak at the podium to Judge Juan Merchan in Manhattan criminal court regarding her desire to be excused from the jury after " sleeping on it” and having concerns about her ability to be fair and impartial, Thursday, April 18, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, Pool)

Jury selection proceeded at a plodding pace Thursday when two of the initial seven jurors were dismissed, one after expressing doubt about her ability to be fair after details about her identity were disclosed and the other over concerns that some of his answers in court may have been inaccurate.

But late in the day, lawyers settled on the remaining seven in quick succession, along with one alternate. Judge Juan M. Merchan has said his goal is to have five additional alternates.

Even with the roster of 12 jurors set, it’s still possible that the lineup may change as proceedings continue Friday.

 
12 jurors have already been picked
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In this courtroom sketch, former President Donald Trump far right, turns around and looks at prospective jurors who raised their hands requesting to be excused from the jury panel in Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, April 18, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, Pool)

In this courtroom sketch, former President Donald Trump far right, turns around and looks at prospective jurors who raised their hands requesting to be excused from the jury panel in Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, April 18, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, Pool)

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

One juror, a man who works in investment banking, earlier described himself as “ambivalent” about Trump, adding, “I might not like some of his policies, but there has been some good” for the country.

A woman picked for the jury said she thought Trump seemed “very selfish and self-serving,” adding, “I don’t really appreciate that from any public servant.” Defense lawyers were out of peremptory strikes, which would allow them to dismiss a juror without giving a reason.

 
Jury selection could be nearing a close in Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York
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Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits inside a Manhattan criminal court in New York, on Monday, April 15, 2024. The hush money trial of former President Trump begins Monday with jury selection. It's a singular moment for American history as the first criminal trial of a former U.S. commander in chief. (Jeenah Moon/Pool Photo via AP)

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits inside a Manhattan criminal court in New York, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jeenah Moon/Pool Photo via AP)

A third panel of potential jurors will be questioned today in Donald Trump’s hush money case, drawing jury selection a step closer to completion in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

After a jury of 12 New Yorkers was seated Thursday, lawyers are now expected to turn their attention to picking remaining alternates who can vow to set aside their personal views and impartially judge the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

The judge has suggested that opening statements in the criminal trial could begin as early as Monday, before prosecutors begin laying out their case alleging a scheme to cover up negative stories Trump feared would hurt his 2016 presidential campaign.