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Updated
Apr 19

Trump Attorneys Fight to Prevent Past Cases From Being Brought Up in Trial

| Published
Apr 19, 2024
| Updated
Apr 19, 2024
Trump Attorneys Fight to Prevent Past Cases From Being Brought Up in Trial
Former President Donald Trump (C) sits with his attorneys Todd Blanche (L) Emil Bove (R) and during his criminal trial as jury selection continues at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 19, 2024 in New York City. (Mark Peterson - Pool/Getty Images)
Here is the latest
Trump Says He'll Testify
Appeals Court Rejects Delay Request
Judge Rejects Presidential Immunity Defense
Appeals Ongoing
Trump Attorneys Argue Against Bringing Up Past Cases
Trump Says He'll Testify
Apr 19

Reporters shouted questions as President Trump left court. Asked if he would testify, he replied "yes!" on his way out.

Prosecutors are arguing they should be allowed to bring up the recent civil cases against him that found him liable for fraud, sexual battery, and defamation if he chooses to take the witness stand. Justice Merchan has yet to issue a ruling on the matter.

President Trump told reporters the case "is really a concerted witch hunt."

Appeals Court Rejects Delay Request
Apr 19

The appeals court has rejected President Trump's latest bid to pause trial while they seek to overturn several of the judge's rulings.

Justice Marsha Michael issued the ruling just minutes after a brief hearing.

Judge Rejects Presidential Immunity Defense
Apr 19

Justice Merchan again denied the defense's presidential immunity arguments, ruling that evidence from his time in the White House was permissible.

However, he said the attorneys could argue in court that the posts and financial disclosures from 2018, which are public, are official acts protected by presidential immunity.

Appeals Ongoing
Apr 19

Meanwhile, appeals are ongoing on an expedited track as defense attorneys have sued Justice Merchan, challenging several of his rulings.

Attorney Steven Wu, representing the prosecutors, argued against the defense's repeated requests that trial be halted until the appeals decisions have been issued.

“We have 18 ordinary New Yorkers ready to serve on Monday morning when this trial should begin,” Wu added. “It would be unfair to them and it would be unfair to the public for this trial to be delayed further.”

Trump Attorneys Argue Against Bringing Up Past Cases
Apr 19

President Trump had told reporters he was willing to testify, but if he does, prosecutors have said they plan to ask President Trump about his other cases.

Two recent civil cases brought by E. Jean Carroll had juries that found him liable for sexual battery and defamation. A judge presiding over a separate case in New York found President Trump liable for fraud, issuing judgment of $454 million and a years-long business ban in New York.

After the jury was seated, Justice Merchan held a hearing over what past cases, if any, would be permissible in questioning.

Man Sets Self on Fire Outside Courthouse
Apr 19

Cameras outside the courthouse caught a man who set himself on fire outside the courthouse as jury selection was being finalized. Screams could be heard as police officers ran to the scene.

CNN correspondent Laura Coates reported that NYPD ran over to put the fire out. She could smell burning flesh and accelerant.

Judge Names Remaining Alternates
Apr 19

Justice Merchan seated the remaining five alternate jurors needed and dismissed the prospective jurors.

Alternate 2 is originally from Spain but has lived in New York for many years. Currently not working, she previously worked for companies that focused on the Hispanic market and her husband works in advertising. She skims headlines but no longer watches or reads much news, and has not been following the case.

Alternate 3 is a native New Yorker who works in IT and gets their news from Washington Post and Facebook.

Alternate Jurors Seated
Apr 19

After dismissing three prospective jurors challenged by the defense, the judge seated additional alternates.

Defense Shows Posts Calling Trump 'the Devil'
Apr 19

The defense challenged a third prospective juror, showing the judge a social media post where they wrote "I believe that he [Trump] is the Devil."

The judge said he wanted to confirm the account belonged to the prospective juror, and showed him printouts.

"The top I believe is my Facebook, but none of the posts underneath it. These are not my posts," he said.

Prospective Juror Attended Anti-Trump Rally
Apr 19

Defense asked for dismissal of another prospective juror who had attended an anti--Trump rally. They had found photos of the attendance from social media and questioned the prospective juror's honesty, as this was one of the things asked on the questionnaire.

The prospective was a holding a sign that said "equality feels like oppression to the privileged," and the judge asked whether they agreed with these views.

"Pretty much," they answered.

Defense Asks for Dismissal
Apr 19

Defense attorney Susan Necheles asked for the dismissal of the juror who she recalled saying that President Trump had "made homophobic and racist comments."

The juror had said she attended the Women's March and said that she didn't have a "bias" against President Trump but she had a personal bias that was "focused" on his base. She said she didn't pay attention to his rallies and did not know the rhetoric he used, but said it has enabled his based to "make homophobic and racist comments based on his rhetoric."

“I think that is an issue for me in the ballot box I will have to deal with not within the courtroom," she had said.

Second Alternate Selected
Apr 19

One alternate has been picked.

Attorneys Question Jurors
Apr 19

Prospective jurors have finished answering the questionnaire and now attorneys will give instructions and ask additional questions. Prosecutors will ask them to affirm their ability to return a guilty verdict and the defense will ask them to affirm their ability to return a not guilty verdict.

While attorney Susan Hoffinger was giving instructions, one prospective juror broke down in tears.

"I'm sorry, I thought I could do this," they said.

Juror Approaches Bench in Tears
Apr 19

One prospective juror started to cry and the judge asked her to approach the bench. She apologized for being emotional and mentioned prior felony charges, saying she didn't want to disclose the details in front of 150 people.

The judge commended her for being brave and said that being convicted of a crime does not preclude one from being a juror, but she would need a certificate of disability in order to serve.

Prospective Jurors Disclose Potential Conflicts
Apr 19

A fresh panel of nearly 100 prospective jurors are being questioned as the court seeks to seat five backup jurors after swearing in a full jury of 12 yesterday.

A few have changed their minds and said they did not believe they could be impartial during questioning. One pointed out he works in music and entertainment, and his company produces Michael Cohen's podcast Mea Culpa even though he doesn't have any decision-making input in that podcast. Another said Michael Cohen's son works at his company but they've never worked together.

Trump: Case Put in Place Because of Politics
Apr 19

"This is a rigged trial, it's coming from the White House," President Trump told the press outside the courtroom. "They have White House DOJ people in the trial, in the DA's office, representing the DA because he's probably not smart enough to represent himself. The guy got elected using Trump and you're not supposed to do that, just like Letitia James. ... I can tell you a lot of people are not going to be moving into New York."

"This is a case that was put in very strongly because of politics. So instead of being in Pennsylvania or Georgia or North Carolina ... I am sitting in a courthouse all day long and this will go on another four or five weeks," he said. "This is very unfair and people know it's unfair. The gag order has to come off. People are allowed to speak about me but I have a gag order."

“Every time I come out to speak to you, I want to be open because we did absolutely nothing wrong. I showed you yesterday 30 stories, 32 stories of experts, legal experts, 32 stories of legal experts saying very strongly there is no case.”

Trump Arrives to Courthouse
Apr 19

Former President Donald Trump arrived to the courthouse for likely the last day of jury selection before his trial begins Monday, April 22, with opening statements.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged the former president with 34 counts of falsifying business records, alleging a payment scheme to influence the 2016 elections. President Trump has pleaded not guilty and blasted the case as politically motivated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.