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Trump’s hush money trial in New York begins. This is what you missed on the first day.

Donald Trump – now a former president on trial – has tried to turn his legal jeopardy into a boost for his presidential campaign, by animating his supporters and trying to sow doubt about the motives of his opponents.

But facing 34 felony charges, Trump argued on the historic first day of his hush-money trial in New York that he is the victim of a criminal justice system that is weaponized against him.

He called it an “attack” on the country. And as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, he repeatedly attacked the prosecutor for “election interference.”

It is “the reason why I am very proud to be here,” Trump said.

The former president plans to be involved, to the extent possible, at every level, from court conferences to the jury selection process, his attorney Todd Blanche said.

“President Trump wants to be present at everything,” Blanche said.

For much of the day, Trump sat at the defense table, flanked by his lawyers. Sometimes his voice could be heard from the back of the courtroom, but not what he said. At other times, Trump closed his eyes, leading to speculation about whether he was still awake or lost in thought.

Here’s what happened during Monday’s procedure:

Table of Contents

Jury selection

About 500 New Yorkers arrived for the first day of Trump’s criminal trial over hush money payments, a process that will last days — and could last weeks — as the court works to weed out jurors who might be influenced by strong biases, or stealth jurors who may hide theirs.

Questions such as: “Are you, or have you ever been, a member of groups like the Oath Keepers, or ‘3 percenters’, another far-right group, used to shrink the pool. Other questions, such as about a prospective juror’s hobbies or educational background, are a less overtly political way to gauge a juror’s potential fairness.

By the time the judge presiding over the case, Juan Merchan, said he was ready to begin jury selection, about two hundred Manhattanites were sitting in the courthouse waiting to find out whether they would be selected.

Trump sat at the defense table as the first class of 96 jurors was brought into the courtroom and filled the benches behind him. Their names, and those of any other prospective jurors, must be kept secret – except from the defense and prosecution.

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In a conversation with his lawyer, Trump gestured with his hands as Merchan discussed the handling of the names of the jurors. The defense and prosecution have each received a copy of the names of the potential jurors, which Merchan has said cannot be duplicated in any way and must be returned to the court. They will also receive a copy of the jury numbers.

It can be an intimidating process. More than half of the potential jurors from the first class of 96 – at least 50 – were excused, saying they could not be fair and impartial. Another nine were excused when the judge asked if there were other reasons for which they could not serve.

Half of the remaining group of about 34 were called to voir dire, where they would be questioned by both sides, including about their media consumption habits. Trump appeared to be following the process closely and reading along as it got underway.

To give evidence

Trump allegedly instructed his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to send porn star Stormy Daniels hush money during his bid for president in 2016, a claim that is now central to the indictment in the case. Prosecutors say this was part of a plan to suppress negative stories about Trump in the run-up to Election Day, which they say should be charged as election interference.

Trump has denied the allegations, but prosecutors say he is going after those he claims are attacking him, including key witnesses in the case — and has turned this into a tactic.

“The suspect himself has publicly embraced the public strategy of going after his perceived enemies,” said prosecutor Joshua Steinglass.

Blanche defended Trump, saying the former president is the one being attacked by witnesses against him.

“He is responding to lustful, repeated, violent attacks from these witnesses,” Blanche said.

In the courtroom, large monitors showed a closed circuit of the judge, defense and prosecution tables.

In court, Merchan read a list of possible witnesses, checking the names of members of Trump’s family, including his children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, wife Melania and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The judge named Trump’s longtime associates such as Kellyanne Conway, Dan Scavino and Rudy Giuliani, his bodyguard Keith Schiller, and White House aides John McEntee, Hope Hicks and Madeleine Westerhout.

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The risk of imprisonment

Trump, who is due in court every day of his criminal trial, has labeled the case a “prosecution like never before” and on Monday, standing outside the courtroom, argued it was “an attack on a political opponent.”

Merchan warned Trump he faces jail time if he disrupts the trial, which will continue in his absence. Prosecutors are already trying to impose thousands of dollars in fines for three alleged violations of a silence order, including this morning.

If he doesn’t show up, a warrant could be issued for his arrest, a commitment his campaign has labeled a “banana republic tactic.”

It is a “case that should never have been brought,” Trump said.

The process could drag on for weeks, shifting a presidential campaign to New York that could otherwise draw closer to voters in some of the states Trump will need to win in November.

He resumed his criticism as the day drew to a close, citing among his grievances a Merchan ruling that banned him from attending Supreme Court oral arguments on whether he is entitled to presidential immunity, which he claimed in one of his other crimes. has put in order. fallen.

“This is about election interference,” Trump said outside the courtroom.

He also lashed out on social media, posting articles on Truth Social dismissing the case against him as “politically driven” and reposting support from a range of defenders.

As in his other cases, Trump did not shy away from using his latest legal entanglement for a campaign boost.

At the same time, a fundraising text message went out, thundering that he would “never surrender.” Trump’s fundraising has soared during moments of potential legal jeopardy, giving him a much-needed financial and messaging boost as he navigates the challenges of another White House run.

On the first day of his trial, Trump made the lawsuit his pitch.

“I JUST RUSHED OUT OF THE COURT!” he hammered home the message. “They think I’m done, but I’ll never surrender.”

Permissible or not?

As prosecutors played evidence in court that Trump’s lawyers said should not be admissible, Trump, sitting at the defense table, watched on a monitor. This included an excerpt from Trump’s deposition in the E. Jean Carroll case, in which he defended his lewd comments on an “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, and comments from a campaign rally late in that election. cycle, during which he was concerned about what he believed were false accusations.

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Jurors should know Trump’s exact words, prosecutors argued. They also showed tweets that they said were evidence of Trump’s pressure campaign on Cohen not to cooperate with prosecutors.

Merchan reinforced a ruling that “Access Hollywood” could not be played to the jury — although it could be discussed — and banned prosecutors from introducing the deposition video about it.

When prosecutors asked to introduce evidence on allegations of Trump’s coordination with the National Enquirer to “capture and kill” stories potentially devastating to his 2016 campaign, Trump’s attorney dismissed it as a “side issue.” The judge ruled that this would be permissible.

In a victory for the defense, Merchan denied a request from prosecutors to bring other sexual assault charges against Trump. “Complete rumors,” he called them.

Merchan gave Trump a twenty-four hour deadline to submit the final pieces of evidence into evidence. “You have 24 hours,” Merchan ordered. “You may not use anything you do not identify in the next 24 hours.”

What’s next?

Merchan said he would await arguments next week on whether Trump violated his silence order by posting comments on social media about witnesses in the case.

Last week, Trump said he would “absolutely” testify in the trial, and tomorrow the judge will hold a hearing to ensure this decision is properly informed. Known as a Sandoval hearing, it will address what might emerge during cross-examination if Trump is on the witness stand.

Merchan rejected a request to excuse Trump from attending Supreme Court arguments on the immunity claim next Thursday.

In another of his cases, Trump has argued to delay two filing deadlines because his lawyers will be overloaded with the trial in New York over the next six weeks. The request shows how the lawsuit has become the latest opportunity for Trump’s team to delay legal charges against him.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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