HomePoliticsThe hush money trial against Trump begins today. We will answer...

The hush money trial against Trump begins today. We will answer your questions about the case.

Yahoo News asked readers to submit their questions about the former president Donald Trump‘s trial in New York on charges that he falsified company records to hide a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels from voters during the 2016 election.

We received hundreds of excellent questions. Here’s an example (readers were asked how they wanted to be identified), along with some answers:

Greg asked: Will the trial take place on Monday or will Trump get away with more exaggerated tactics?

In the week leading up to the trial alone, three different appeals court judges rejected Trump’s lawyers’ requests to delay the start of the trial. Trump was able to delay the initial March 25 start date after his lawyers argued they needed more time to review evidence submitted by federal prosecutors, but his lawyers have been unsuccessful in delaying the start of the trial. On Friday, when Merchan refused Trump’s lawyers’ request, the proceedings were postponed because the case has generated too much publicity.

Anonymous asked: New York State bans cameras in the courtroom, so how will the press cover the trial?

Reporters from several news outlets will be in the courtroom throughout the trial, and others will report from a waiting area in the building. They can share their impressions with the public in real time. At the start of each day, photographers are allowed to take photos before the procedure begins, but are then escorted out of the room.

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Former President Donald Trump will attend the first day of his hush money trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday.  (Angela Weiss/Pool via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump will attend the first day of his hush money trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday. (Angela Weiss/Pool via Getty Images)

Anne asked: I am deeply concerned about the integrity of the jury and that the jury screening will not be strict enough to keep out his fervent supporters, who will undoubtedly vote for acquittal regardless of the evidence and testimony. How can an impartial jury be guaranteed?

This goes both ways. Last week, Trump failed to convince an appeals court to delay the trial as he tried to change the venue from Manhattan, a Democratic stronghold, to Staten Island. Finding an impartial jury for a celebrity or well-known politician can be a difficult problem because opinions about that defendant may already be predetermined. Judge Juan Merchan has stated that he will not allow attorneys for the prosecution or defense to ask potential jurors about their voting choices, political contributions or party registration. In choosing the twelve jurors and six alternates who will serve at the trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys can only reject a limited number, meaning they will have to try to pick a jury that they think will give them the best chance win the case. Merchan also ruled last month that while Trump and his lawyers can determine the identities of the jurors, they cannot release that information publicly.

Steve Johnson asked: Is the prosecutor able to articulate the evidence to support a clear conclusion and possible conviction?

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Merchan reviewed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s charges and concluded they could be brought before a jury. Trump’s lawyers have filed numerous lawsuits in New York appeals courts, most of which have been dismissed. Ultimately, it will be up to that jury to decide whether Bragg’s case, or the defense of Trump’s lawyers, is strong enough to “support a clear conclusion” either way.

Scott asked: Is Bragg essentially trying to prosecute what should be a federal charge, under federal election law?

Skeptics question whether Bragg can prosecute violations of federal election law at the state level in this case. That may be the hardest thing he will have to answer for before a jury. But Trump is also accused of violating New York state laws regarding the falsification of corporate records, which has been elevated from a misdemeanor to a misdemeanor because it was committed in furtherance of other crimes.

Trump will sit next to his lawyer at the defense table on Monday.  (Angela Weiss/Pool via AFP via Getty Images)Trump will sit next to his lawyer at the defense table on Monday.  (Angela Weiss/Pool via AFP via Getty Images)

Trump will sit next to his lawyer at the defense table on Monday. (Angela Weiss/Pool via AFP via Getty Images)

Mark asked: Weren’t the facts of this case reviewed by federal prosecutors in the Biden administration, who determined there was no crime to prosecute before Bragg decided to prosecute?

When investigating Trump’s payment to Daniels while Trump was president, Justice Department prosecutors and special counsel Robert Mueller decided not to bring charges against him. They cited a Nixon-era Justice Department directive that prevented sitting presidents from being indicted, the New York Times reported. Once Trump was out of office, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York held off on filing charges against Trump, though their reasoning remains unclear.

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Mary asked: Now that hush money is considered illegal, will this court prosecute senators and congressmen who paid to cover up their sexual harassment complaints?

In themselves, hush money payments are not illegal. In fact, they can be similar to non-disclosure agreements. But Bragg claims Trump tried to hide the payment to keep voters from knowing about it, violating campaign finance laws, and as a way to avoid paying taxes on the amount. However, you raise an important point about whether hush money payments to politicians should all be considered crimes if they are intended to keep voters in the dark.

Thomas asked: If convicted, could Trump pardon himself if he is re-elected president?

A president can only pardon federal offenses, not state charges.

Todd asked: If Trump is convicted and given prison time, will he have Secret Service agents available to protect him while he serves his sentence?

The U.S. Secret Service protects former presidents, so if Trump is sentenced to prison, it would present a historic legal test that would likely have to be decided in, you guessed it, a new trial.

John Bell asked: Would you even cover this if it wasn’t 45?

While the question seems to imply that the media is biased against the 45th US president, the fact that he is the first former commander-in-chief to face criminal charges and have to take this case to court makes one question whether one believes that the charges have merit, a newsworthy event.

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