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Hush money jury completed in first criminal trial against a former American president

Welcome back, Deadline: Legal Newsletter Readers. This week, a jury was empaneled in Manhattan for the first criminal trial of a former US president. The selection process in People v. Donald Trump started slow, picked up quickly and then somehow deteriorated, but ultimately ended with the twelve permanent judges picked on Thursday and the alternates reaching the finals on Friday. Opening statements await.

“We have our jury,” judge ruled Juan Merchan said at the end of a dramatic Thursday. By then there were twelve permanent jurors and one of six chosen alternates. But it wasn’t a straight line to get there. There were seven jurors scheduled for Thursday, but two were excused after raising privacy concerns. Momentum picked up later that day, gearing up for the full panel finish on Friday.

Trump’s threatening behavior continued to cast a shadow over the criminal proceedings against him. Merchan warned the defendant about intimidating jurors in court, and prosecutors told the judge that Trump has violated his silence order several times, including with a social media post targeting jurors. A hearing will be held on Tuesday to discuss the case. The question now is how the judge will implement his order. It is a decision that could set the tone for the ongoing process.

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Opening statements are scheduled for Monday. That’s when prosecutors will explain to jurors what to expect, laying the groundwork to make their case weeks later with closing arguments that they’ve proven the falsification of business records charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense is not bothered; it falls entirely under the state.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has heard arguments in a Jan. 6 case that has implications for charges against hundreds of rioters — as well as the federal election interference case against Trump. In that regard, the justices will hear arguments in Trump’s immunity appeal on Thursday. How the Supreme Court decides this — and when — could determine whether the hush-money lawsuit is the only thing Trump faces before the November election.

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This article was originally published on MSNBC.com

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