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April 15, 2024 01:48 PM UTC

Trump Hits Snooze Bar As Stormy Daniels Trial Begins

  • by: Colorado Pols

The Washington Post is tracking developments today in the first criminal trial against ex-President Donald Trump, this being the alleged falsification of business records to conceal a “hush money” payment to porn star Stormy Daniels over an extramarital affair, getting underway with jury selection:

Donald Trump is in a Manhattan courtroom, where his hush money trial — the first criminal prosecution of a former U.S. president — got underway Monday with the start of jury selection. Jurors will be asked to determine whether Trump broke state law by falsifying business records connected to a 2016 hush money payment meant to keep an adult-film actress quiet about an alleged sexual tryst.

Seating a jury could take a week or more. New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the closely watched case, spent much of Monday morning and early afternoon addressing other issues. He summoned the first pool of nearly 100 potential jurors inside just after 2 p.m.

A number of observers have taken note of Trump apparently having difficulty staying awake during today’s hearing, NBC News:

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times:

Even as a judge was hearing arguments on last-minute issues in a criminal case that centers on salacious allegations and threatens to upend his bid for the presidency, Mr. Trump appeared to nod off a few times, his mouth going slack and his head drooping onto his chest.

The former president’s lead lawyer, Todd Blanche, passed him notes for several minutes before Mr. Trump appeared to jolt awake and notice them.

Not an auspicious beginning to a trial expected to take weeks and for which Trump is obligated to be physically present every day, forcing Trump to juggle his busy campaign schedule and potentially lose even more beauty sleep. Just the jury selection process is expected to take a week or more as hundreds of candidates are whittled down to the “perfect” jury with just enough but not too much knowledge of the case and impartiality at one of the most divided moments in American history to serve on the jury. This is not the case trying the weightier matters of insurrection and espionage, but a more sordid matter of bad character and a cover-up worse than the crime.

Could you do this case, in a word, justice as a juror? This is the first and least consequential of several opportunities to ask yourself.


12 thoughts on “Trump Hits Snooze Bar As Stormy Daniels Trial Begins

      1. Oh look who's back!  A conviction won't make him stronger.  But it will help the rule of law you and your lot have trampled for decades now.  Crawl back into mom's basement

      2. Fluffy, you idiot, good to know we still have you to kick around. 

        Wanna 'splain to us just HOW this makes FDFQ stronger? As far as I can see, your lord and master is up to his ass in alligators.

        1. Since it's "Be Kind to a Right Wing Shill" Day, I'll help Fluffy out on answering this one ….

          This isn't going to win Trump any new support. It's not going to cost him any either. Nobody's mind is going to change as a result of this.

          The only way this "helps" Trump is that it makes his loony supporters even more pissed off than they already are which means they will: (a) continue to give him $$$, (b) turn out to vote in November, and (c) at least for some of them, resort to extra-constitutional means (think 1/6) to see him returned to office.

          BTW, I continue to point out that the weakest of the four cases is going forward first which also "helps" Trump. So Trump tried to cover up a sex scandal? Was he the first politician to do so? FDR and JFK successfully covered up their extra-marital affairs. (It was easier back then.)  Bill Clinton lied under oath about a third rate blow job and was never prosecuted for it nor was he removed from office. John Edwards, we all know what happened when they tried prosecute him. 

          The Georgia case, the DC case, and perhaps most serious, the Florida case are serious cases involving serious crimes.

          BTW, the NY case involves an offense for which Trump is probation eligible. So, even if he is convicted and then re-elected, we face the possibility of having someone reporting to a probation officer in NYC from the Oval Office. Can it get any stranger?

          1. So you're saying that election finance crimes are not crimes?  It is a felony he's charged with.  And he made the payments to make sure this didn't come out and negatively affect his presidential campaign.  John Edwards was prosecuted for a similar thing, though he was acquitted.  I've got no issues with this case being prosecuted, and the timing is what it is.  

            1. No, they may be crimes. But they are not nearly as serious as the other stuff.

              That's just my humble opinion. But more importantly, that's how a lot of other people will view the NY case. 

              If every politician who uses $$$ to cover up embarrassing stuff in his/her/their past is prosecuted, well ….. the courts are going to have a lot of cases to litigate.

            2. Edwards' trial is a cautionary precedent. 

              He was acquitted of one charge — but "After nine days of deliberation, the jury deadlocked on five of the six felony counts the former senator faced." And then the DoJ decided to drop the case.

              A key difference — Edwards' was prosecuted under federal election laws, where there is a thin set of cases due to a confusing combination of regulations and laws.  Trump is charged with NY state business records violations.  An essay at Just Security explains why it makes a difference:

              the law is firmly on the side of the DA, and we do not think this question will give the DA’s office or Justice Juan Merchan much pause. Indeed, the jurisdiction in which this case will be brought – the First Department of New York – has settled law on the issue that defines “intent to defraud” in broad terms that cover the allegations in the Trump case. The most important expression of a contrary view was issued by a lower court in a different jurisdiction and on a basis that is demonstrably flawed….

              A long line of New York state court cases supports an expansive conception with respect to § 175.00 crimes – namely, that intent can be established when a defendant acts “for the purpose of frustrating the State’s power” to “faithfully carry out its own law.”


      3. "Making Trump Stronger" —

        You may be right that the trial itself won't move the voters.  And I don't know that a verdict will make much difference, either, though polling kinda supports that idea.

        One key element — Trump will be shut up in a courtroom in New York City for the length of the trial.  The judge will be setting the schedule and starting at 9:30, so Trump cannot simply wander in whenever he wakes up and finishes having his hair and face done.  If even the first day puts him to sleep, imagine how he will be doing when it comes to the days it will take for introduction of exhibits of his business' records.  And if the trial actually DOES go for 8 weeks, that will be 32 days of limited time for personal fundraising and social messaging, 8 weeks of restricted campaign events, and undoubtedly a number of weeks of Trump whining about the "unfairness" — all of which will limit his ability to motivate any NEW voters with his campaign.

  1. Alvin Bragg does have two really big things going for him in this case:  venue and Trump.

    Bragg will get 9 or 10 people on the jury who will be ready to convict Trump without even hearing any evidence just on the basis that Trump has been an obnoxious asshole for the last 50 years or so in NYC.

    How many people in NY have had to endure reading about him on Page Six of the Post, or seeing his ugly puss on local TV news?

    The last two or three jurors will want to hear some evidence but it shouldn't be hard for Bragg to close the deal.

    The only real risk is that a sleeper cell MAGAt will get onto the panel and refuse to convict, raising the spectre of a retrial in 2025.

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