Former President Donald Trump’s New York hush money criminal trial begins Monday.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to reimbursements made to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for hush money payments before the 2016 election, CNN reported. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

The trial is the first criminal trial of any former U.S. president and is first of Trump’s four upcoming criminal trials, according to The Associated Press.

Each of the 34 felony counts that Trump faces carry a maximum sentence of four years, but New York caps such sentences at 20 years, USA Today reported. Legal experts have said the sentence would likely range from probation to four years in prison, but Trump would likely remain free during the presidential election race on appeal.

Here are updates on the Trump hush money trial in New York:

Trump speaks after court adjourned: “It’s a scam trial”: After court adjourned, Trump spoke to reporters, calling the trial a “political witch hunt” and a “scam trial” before leaving the courthouse.

In his comments, Trump mentioned that the judge ruled he wouldn’t be able to attend graduation festivities for his son Barron due to the trial.

“If you read all of the legal pundits, all of the legals scholars today, there’s not one that I see that says this is a case that should be brought or tried,” Trump said. “It’s a scam. It’s a political witch hunt. It continues, and it continues forever.”


First day of trial ends with no jurors picked: Judge Juan Merchon closed proceedings Monday afternoon, and the trial will continue, starting 7:30 a.m. MDT on Tuesday.

Merchon denied a request for Trump to miss a trial session next week, according to Reuters. The hush money trial could be the only criminal case Trump faces before the November election.


Jurors whittled down: More than half of the first panel of jurors were excused after saying they couldn’t be impartial in the trial, BBC reported.

  • “It’s not unusual for potential jurors to want to be excused for a variety of reasons, including having strong feelings about the defendant,” according to The Associated Press.

Merchon said he would dismiss jurors immediately if they said they couldn’t be fair to make the trial more efficient, the AP reported. Trump’s lawyers have previously argued that the case needs to be moved elsewhere because “he can’t find a fair and impartial jury in Manhattan.”

According to the AP, one woman was dismissed for giving a one-word answer — “yes” — when asked if she has strong feelings about the former president.


Potential jurors enter courtroom: The first set of potential jurors — 96 New Yorkers from Manhattan — entered the courtroom and were sworn in Monday afternoon, according to CNN. There are 200 jurors total in the courthouse.

Ultimately, a jury of 12 with six alternates will be chosen from the large pool, which could take more than a week to narrow down, CNN reported.

Merchon gave the potential jurors a brief description of the charges Trump faces and introduced the lawyers, according to USA Today.

When the judge told the possible jurors of the 34 counts of falsifying records that Trump faces, Trump looked down and shook his head, per Politico.

According to CNN, whether the jurors are picked or not could depend on everything from their answers to questions about news consumption, opinions on Trump and affiliations with groups like the Proud Boys and Antifa, to their clothes and mannerisms.

  • “You’re going to have the facts the juror discloses, but as a lawyer — a prosecutor or a defense lawyer — you are analyzing and assessing everything about that juror,” CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said.

Who might testify?: Trump said Friday that he will testify, though he has backed out of testifying before, according to USA Today.

Cohen, adult film star Stormy Daniels and Hope Hicks, former White House communications director under Trump, are expected to be called by prosecutors as well, CNN reported.

David Pecker, former CEO of American Media, Inc., which published the National Enquirer, Karen McDougal and Bradley Smith, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, may also testify, according to Politico.


What evidence will be allowed?: The jurors in the hush money trial can’t watch the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, though they can hear testimony about Trump’s comments, Merchan has ruled, according to USA Today.

Additionally, a deposition related to Trump’s previous civil defamation trial with E. Jean Carroll won’t be allowed, The Associated Press reported.

As for evidence that is allowed, a series of National Enquirer stories attacking Trump opponents, the testimony of Karen McDougal and the testimony of Cohen’s guilty plea to campaign finance violations can be used in court, according to CNN. However, prosecutors can’t tie Cohen’s guilty plea to Trump.


Trump social media posts brought up: Merchan is considering whether Trump violated a gag order in the trial due to recent social media posts, according to CNN.

Recent social media posts from Trump call Cohen and Stormy Daniels “sleazebags.” Prosecutors are arguing that the post appears to be “attacking a key witness in the case, which would be a violation of the gag order,” according to CNN.

  • “Right now, the big question is what are they going to do about this gag order, because this is going to be a reoccurring issue, every day, throughout this trial, because as we know Trump does not stay within the bounds of gag orders,” CNN’s Paul Reid said.

Merchan has also prohibited public statements from Trump about court staff and prosecution lawyers if the comments could “significantly interfere” with the case, USA Today reported.

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