web analytics

Stormy Daniels Trump Trial Begins Monday with Jury Selection

In a historic first, the former US president's criminal trial gets underway.

There was a time, not long ago, when “presidential trials” would have referred to significant challenges the leaders faced in office. Now that Democrat prosecutors at the federal, state, and local levels have turned their attention to Donald Trump, the meaning is literal. Monday, April 15, is the first time in US history that a former president stands trial for criminal charges. Trump is charged with 34 felonies by Manhattan’s progressive District Attorney Alvin Bragg for how he represented so-called “hush-money” payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

How do you get from an alleged tryst at a 2006 Lake Tahoe golf tournament to a Trump trial in a criminal courtroom in Manhattan in 2024? Trump paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in October of 2016, on the eve of the presidential election. She had hired an attorney to shake down Trump with a threat – pay up, or I will tell the world you slept with me a few months after Melania gave birth to Barron Trump. It was Trump’s maneuvering to conceal the payments and their timing, which Bragg says makes them criminal.

Trump is also accused of conducting a so-called “catch and kill” scheme with the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid. This involved payments to silence unflattering stories of Trump having extramarital affairs and dalliances. Bragg says these payments amount to campaign contributions because they were made to advance Trump’s presidential candidacy. To secure criminal convictions, Bragg’s prosecutors must prove Trump knew the payments broke the law and made them anyway to influence the election.

Trump Trial Begins

The Trump trial begins with jury selection. No one will be allowed to be a juror who has expressed strong opinions for or against Trump. Prospective jurors, who must be English-speaking adults residing in Manhattan, will fill out a 42-question form crafted to reveal those ineligible to serve because they cannot be impartial.

New banner Legal Affairs with ScottJohhny Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, recently discussed how they picked the jury in his blockbuster defamation case against Amber Heard. She described voir dire, the back-and-forth question and answer session between lawyers and prospective jurors, as an opportunity to build rapport and “getting them to open up.” The goal is twofold: first, to present the best first and lasting impression for any juror who is ultimately seated. Also, engaging rapport exposes jury candidates who are less cautious about their answers and more likely to reveal hidden biases that may be used to prevent them from being empaneled. She said:

“You want them to talk about things that will show you the characteristics that we’re looking for. […] Do they know a lot about the case? Do they really want to be on this jury? Are they trying to hide that or do they want nothing to do with it, and they’re just desperately trying to get out of jury duty? Those are all the things that we try to identify by building a rapport.”

Finding Juror #8

The American Film Institute lists the character of Juror #8 from Twelve Angry Men, among the top 50 film heroes from the last 100 years. The character, played by Henry Fonda, refuses to accept the district attorney’s view of a crime. He leads the jury to acquit the defendant through an exhaustive critical review of the evidence. One juror may make a difference to convince the others to acquit or convict. They may also refuse to vote to convict, no matter what other jurors do. The law requires a unanimous decision for a conviction or an acquittal. There must be 12 jurors and six alternates chosen before the trial can start. However, if Trump’s team can convince just one juror to hold out against a guilty verdict, Mr. Trump will walk free unless and until Mr. Bragg decides to retry the case. A re-trial, however, would occur after the November elections.

Each charge carries a potential four-year prison sentence. New York sentencing norms suggest Trump would, upon any conviction, be sentenced to either a term of probation or up to several years in prison.

Read More From Scott D. Cosenza, Esq.

Latest Posts

Liberty Nation News – Sunday Digest

Is the Trump Trial Moving the Needle for Biden – or Trump? As the much-anticipated cross-examination of...

Congress in Chaos: The Circus Is in Town

The House Oversight Committee erupted into a scene from a schoolyard playground Thursday night, May 16, as...

Independents Dominate 2024 – C5 TV

How will Biden and Trump play in the sandbox with RFK Jr.? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAoQFzA2JXw [roku-ad...