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Full jury selected in Trump’s criminal trial on hush-money charges

Jacob Fischler, Ohio Capital Journal,

The New York state court trying former President Donald Trump on criminal charges empaneled a full 12-person jury on the third day of the trial Thursday, according to reports.

The trial approached the end of its first phase Thursday afternoon as one of six alternate jurors was also selected. Selection of more alternates will continue Friday.

Juan Merchan, the judge overseeing the case, said Tuesday that oral arguments could begin as early as the start of next week, and the selection of jurors appeared to make that possibility more likely. The court did not meet Wednesday.

Seven jurors had been chosen before Thursday, but two were excused before the court broke for lunch. Seven more jurors were chosen in the afternoon.

The trial, which could go weeks, is keeping Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, away from the campaign trail. He complained to reporters as he exited the courtroom that the trial was interfering with his campaign, CNN reported.

During a break Thursday, the former president posted a message on his social media platform blasting the U.S. House bipartisan foreign aid package, which Republican Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana has endorsed.

A New York grand jury last year charged Trump with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, saying he lied about payments his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the leadup to the 2016 presidential election to cover up an affair. Trump has denied the affair.

Cohen is expected to take the stand during the trial, and Trump’s defense team will likely make his credibility a major issue. Cohen first denied any role in the payments, but later admitted to paying Daniels $130,000.

In 2018, he pleaded guilty to federal charges, including perjury, for lying to a congressional committee about a separate incident and served a prison sentence.Some polling suggests a guilty verdict in the trial could hurt Trump’s standing with voters, though observers differ on whether even a felony conviction would seriously erode his base of support.

Jacob Fischler covers federal policy as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues. His coverage areas include climate, energy development, public lands and infrastructure.

Ohio Capital Journal is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

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