Monday, July 22, 2024

Jury selection falters and threatens to extend Donald Trump's first criminal trial | international

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Criminal trial of Donald Trump Stormy Daniels case (He paid a bribe to a porn actress to buy her silence about an extramarital affair) Tuesday continued in much the same way as the day before: stuck in jury selection. The accused, who is the first former US president to sit in the dock, spends the seven hours of the session reviewing the information displayed on the screen placed on his table. Take an occasional nap, like on Monday, and always be alert, scrutinizing every one of the jury candidates who pass the stand. Of the 96 candidates called on the first day, 50 were disqualified because they did not feel they could impartially judge the Republican nominee for re-election in November.

That Trump is the most polarizing figure in the United States, and that his presence in the room is also an intimidation factor, was evident in the path of resignations, with hands raised, of the candidates, which were penetrated by the eyes of Republicans from the moment they entered. Even those who were leaving the room. A 30-year-old woman came out lamenting: “I can’t do this, I can’t.” Another explained that she had subscribed to a list of anti-Trump activists months ago, and had therefore been deleted. One accountant said his company is majority Republican, and some bias may have affected him. “I'm not 100% sure I can be fair, although I'll try,” a middle-aged woman declared before being fired from her job.

Of the roughly 50 who were rejected or excluded on Monday, more than half were white women, and that same trend continued on Tuesday. Judge Juan Merchan had already warned on the first day that if selection faltered, and trial delays piled up, there would also be hearings on Wednesday, the only free day scheduled so he could attend his cases in the mental health court (A) A section of the court that only serves people Convicts with mental problems).

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Donald Trump, on Tuesday in New York criminal court.Curtis Means (Reuters)

The remaining candidates (32 on Monday, 18 on Tuesday) had to submit under oath to 42 questions from a suitability questionnaire, while Trump continued to question prosecutors and lawyers with the form in his right hand, watching the anonymous citizens. . It's a process called Interrogation, sifting through hundreds of candidates until finding 12 starters, plus six substitutes, who will make up the judging panel. But the series of resignations underscores how difficult it is to form when the accused is a former president who arouses mixed feelings.

“He has the intimidating effect typical of a man who shows greatness and power whenever he can,” described the impression made by the journalist from The New York Times Maggie Haberman, author of a book about Republicans, Trust manWho sits a few meters away from him in the room. A scrutinizing gaze, often trying to establish eye contact, is the first barrier that hundreds of summoned Manhattanites (New York) must overcome. Second, their potential biases.

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Entrance marches

In the dingy lower Manhattan courtroom, Trump appears somewhere between combative and sleepy, pragmatic and cynical. He asked for permission to attend the graduation ceremony of his youngest son, Barron, and the upcoming Supreme Court hearing that will decide his immunity in another criminal case, among the four he faces in total: the 2020 election interference case, in Washington. The judge rejected their requests.

In the corridors, during breaks or at the entrance and exit of the building, he takes the opportunity to unleash his disjointed verbiage, in a tone that ranges between insulting and decidedly triumphant: “This trial should never have taken place. Legal experts say it is a disgrace. He announced this morning in a third and solemn form: « The judge hates Trump, and he shouldn't in this case. I paid the lawyer [Michael Cohen, que pagó a Daniels adelantando el dinero, luego reembolsado por Trump] He wrote it as a legal expense. An accountant I didn't know flagged it as a legal expense. That's exactly what it was. And they accuse you of that? He should be campaigning now. All of this is coming from the Biden White House because the man can't string two sentences together. He cannot campaign. He is trying to win the elections (…). So look, legal expenses, all legal expenses…what are they supposed to be called?” he muttered in his usual syncopated form – subordinate clauses not part of his linguistic capital. But recording the alleged bribery as 'accounting expenses', to prevent the issue with Daniels from arising And his victimization in the final stretch of the 2016 campaign is what sparked the investigation that led to the election interference trial

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Donald Trump before entering court, Tuesday.
Donald Trump before entering court, Tuesday.Curtis Means (Reuters)

Among the 18 questioned this Tuesday, a young African American woman answered Question No. 34 of the form (whether she had a formed opinion about Trump) by talking about the recent 2020 election: “There was division in the country and I cannot ignore that,” she said. “However, I would never attribute it to one individual.” Questions to potential jurors covered all sorts of information: their occupation, where they live, their marital status, whether or not they have a pet (most do), children (very few), their hobbies, and, most importantly, their sources. Income information: The number of people who get their information via social networks, especially TikTok, wins by a landslide (“I don’t like the news or newspapers,” explained a young woman, and she wasn’t the only one). .

There are many who claim that they follow current events through media outlets on the other side, such as the Democratic network CNN and the conservative Fox channel, and one of the candidates sparked laughter among the audience when he said that he was addicted to it during his high school days. beginner, Trump's reality show that served as a launching pad for his political career. He added: “Then, during his presidency, I agreed to some things and disagreed with others.” Finally, another said that being there seemed “amazing and mysterious.” Some claimed they did not know that Trump was accused in other criminal cases: The limited, if not scarce, information about many of the candidates is another notable factor.

Merchan on Monday excused a middle-aged man whose son is getting married in June in Seattle because he could not guarantee that the trial would be over by the time of the wedding. “I think we should be finished by then, but I can't promise that. If you stay with us, it will have to be until the end,” he told him, but not without congratulating him with a celebration. The trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks, But if it continues as before, it may continue until the summer, while the rest of the issues hang on by the thread of the calendar.

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