• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Opening statement to begin Monday in first criminal trial of a former US president


The historic first criminal trial of a former US president begins with opening statements on Monday.

Trial Judge Juan Merchan has swiftly moved through consideration of roughly 200 potential jurors to find a jury pool of 18 by midday Friday, swearing in 12 jurors and six alternates who will decide Donald Trump’s fate in the New York hush money case.

There had been estimates at the start of the week that jury selection could spill into a second week, and it appeared likely after Merchan lost two empaneled jurors on Thursday. But the judge found enough prospective jurors who were willing to serve and said they could be impartial that he didn’t have to turn to a third panel of around 100 jurors in reserve Friday.

Trump – whose lawyers on Friday continued to try to delay the trial – complained about Merchan’s pace as he left the courtroom for the day.
“The trial starts on Monday, which is long before a lot of people thought. The judge wants this to go as fast as possible. That’s for his reasons, not for my reasons,” Trump said in the hallway of the 15th floor courtroom.