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Trump hush money trial live updates: Jury selection resumes after day one ends with naps, rants and no jurors

Donald Trump’s campaign has furiously denied rumours that the former president fell asleep during the first day of his historic criminal trial in New York.

At various points during proceedings on Monday, Mr Trump, who is making history once again as the first American president to ever stand trial on criminal charges, appeared to struggle to keep his eyes open, earning the nicknames “Sleepy Don” and “Don Snoreleone” – the latter a reference to the mafia kingpin Don Vito Corleone from the Godfather series.

The Republican has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in a bid to conceal a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election in order to silence her about an alleged affair in 2006.

The charges on their own are misdemeanours but have been elevated to felonies because Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg says they violated state and federal election laws.

Mr Trump denies the affair and has pleaded not guilty.

Jury selection in the trial continues today, with more than 50 people excused so far after admitting they could not be fair or impartial to the defendant.

Key Points

  • Snoozegate: Trump campaign denies claim former president fell asleep in court

  • Hush money trial day one: Defendant bored as hell and blaming enemies

  • Stormy Daniels, E Jean Carroll, Fani Willis: The women trying to take down Trump

  • At Trump’s trial, supporters ask: ‘Who among us hasn’t paid for sex?’

  • Trump seated in court as day two gets underway

Court resumes after quick recess

17:24 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from the court:

Court resumed after a short recess with Trump lawyer Todd Blanche now addressing the potential jurors.

“It’s easy to read something off a sheet of paper and say yes I’m going to be fair and impartial. What I want to do is test that a little bit,” he said.

“We all know that every one of you knows President Trump, and you all know him in different ways, and you all have different views of him.”

Blanche asks juror B280 for her opinion.

“I don’t really have one,” she said. “Nobody is above the law. I’m here to hear the facts, both sides.”

She said she thought she was “going home yesterday and back to work,” but is now in the jury box. “I’m here to listen to the facts,” she said.

17:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Steinglass says: “This case isn't about whether you like Donald Trump, it's about the rule of law.”

He continues by saying that he doesn't expect jurors not to have heard about the case or have discussed it with friends but does expect an open mind.

Jurors will have access to evidence and testimony that the media has not seen and will be instructed on how this sits alongside the law.

Trump watched the jurors and craned his neck to see who was talking in the jury box.

The court breaks for a ten-minute recess.

Judge Merchan discusses Trump's right and previous desire to be present at sidebars. The former president has apparently changed his mind since yesterday, and will now waive his right to be present for them.

“Your attorneys indicated to me that you changed your mind,” Judge Merchan said.

Watch: Dismissed Trump juror reveals why she could not take part in trial

17:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Prosecution addresses jurors who passed questionnaire

16:53 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports for The Independent from the courthouse:

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass is up first to speak with the jurors.

“I’m sure many of you are saying to yourself, How am I being considered for this case?” Steinglass said.

He said they’re not trying to “pry into your lives,” only to “pick a jury that will be fair to both sides.”

“Let’s start with the obvious. The defendant in this case is a former president and a current candidate for that office. We don’t expect you to be living under a rock for the last eight years or last 30 years,” he said.

This case has nothing to do with personal politics and is not a referendum, he said.

“This case is about whether this man broke the law. Did he falsify business records to cover up an agreement to unlawfully influence the 2016 election,” he added.

There were no immediate objections when asked to follow the judge’s instructions and promise to focus on the evidence.

Juror B146, the bookseller who answered the questionnaire on Monday, said: “Because of the particulars of this case, it really doesn’t have anything to do with my political inclinations.”

Hush money trial: Only one-third of Americans say they think Donald Trump acted illegally

16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Kelly Rissman reports:

Nearly one-third of American adults said they believe Donald Trump acted illegally in the hush money case, as jury selection in the first criminal trial of a sitting or former president is underway, according to a new poll.

Mr Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection to so-called hush money payments given to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence over an alleged affair. She said the affair occurred in 2006, just one year after Mr Trump married Melania.

He has pleaded not guilty and has repeatedly denied that the affair ever happened.

On top of this, if a jury found Mr Trump guilty in the hush money case, 50 per cent of Americans would not consider him fit for office, the AP-NORC poll showed.

Continue reading...

One-third of Americans say they think Donald Trump acted illegally in hush money case

16:30 , Alex Woodward

The next potential juror is a school teacher and former juvenile case worker who likes photography, theatre and travelling. She mentioned that she is “not gonna sit here and pretend” that Trump created a “divide” in his country during his candidacy but promised to be impartial. She also asked if it was OK if she came across news about the case while scrolling on social media. Merchan says she can’t do anything about that.

The next juror is a native New Yorker who lives in Chelsea and works as a software engineer for the Walt Disney Company.

Moving on, the next prospective juror has lived in New York for 25 years and lives on the Upper East Side. She runs a healthcare consulting company with her husband.

On these questions regarding being impartial and whether she had strong opinions about Trump, she hesitated, sighed, and said “I’m not sure that I can say beyond a reasonable doubt … but I’m not 100 per cent that I can be fair.”

She was excused.

Finally, a married school teacher who lives on the Upper West Side is the next juror. Her brother was once shot by a stray bullet in his leg and her catalytic converter was stolen from her car.

Lawyers will now address the jurors who remain in the box.

Liz Truss says world was ‘safer’ under Trump as she endorses him for US president

16:20 , Oliver O'Connell

I’m not sure the world was safer under Liz Truss but then, mercifully, we were only subjected to her “leadership” for seven weeks.

Here’s Jabad Ahmed on her latest painful attempt to crack America following her bemoaning the “deep state” at CPAC in February.

Liz Truss endorses Donald Trump for US President: ‘The world was safer’

Watch: 10 prospective jurors have passed questionnaire round, MSNBC reports

16:20 , Oliver O'Connell

16:14 , Alex Woodward

The next potential juror is originally from Puerto Rico, works in IT training and consulting, and has lived in the Lower East Side for 40 years. He’s been married “a long time” and has one child and two grandchildren. “I have no spare time … I guess my hobby is my family,” he said.

After him, the next juror – a 40-year resident of Battery Park City – is the first among those surveyed to be a victim of a crime. He was robbed at knifepoint. An ex-girlfriend was mugged and punched in the face, his mother was a victim of a violent assault, and his daughter who is now deceased was sexually assaulted.

He’s also the only juror so far who ever followed Trump on Twitter, at the time. He also read The Art of the Deal. He and his wife are also members of the ACLU.

Next up is a “happily” retired former MTA worker who is no longer married and has four children and four grandchildren. She likes hiking with her dog, spending time on Cape Cod, playing guitar, and reading books. She occasionally gets news from The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Daily News, Facebook, WSJ (“when my next-door neighbour gives it to me”), Fox News, and NY1. She also listens to This American Life, Ezra Klein and Hardcore History podcasts, as well as Brian Lehrer on WNYC.

She said she’s been to a “pro-choice rally” but wasn’t sure if it was Trump-related, and on her Facebook page, “there’s a lot of things on there that I didn’t ask to be put on there,” like posts from Occupy Democrats.

Key takeaways from day one of Trump’s hush money trial

16:00 , Joe Sommerlad

For anyone asleep at the back (much like the defendant), Trump’s historic hush money trial is now underway, with jury selection still the first task.

The former president is now expected to be in court four days a week for the next six to eight weeks and looks unlikely to enjoy himself.

Here are the takeaways from day one of The People v Donald Trump courtesy of Martha McHardy.

Key takeaways from day one of Trump’s hush money trial

DA’s office asks judge to hold Trump in contempt and fine him

15:57 , Oliver O'Connell

Meanwhile, in a filing just made public, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is asking Judge Juan Merchan to hold Donald Trump in contempt and fine him $3,000 for three social media posts that they say violate his gag order.

Alvin Bragg’s office wants Judge Merchan to warn Trump "that future violations of the Court's restrictions on his extrajudicial statements can be punished not only with additional fines, but also with a term of incarceration of up to thirty days”.

This Court warned defendant that “any violation of this Order will result in sanctions” ... This Court should now hold defendant in criminal contempt for willfully disobeying a lawful mandate. Defendant is not above the law, and he cannot simply disregard judicial orders that upset him. And both the public and the participants in the criminal trial deserve reassurance that the judicial system stands ready to protect them and to preserve the rule of law in the face of defendant’s extreme and deliberate provocations.

We are on day two of a trial that is expected to last approximately six weeks.

Trump is seething about missing Barron’s graduation. Here’s what the judge actually said

15:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Jury selection in Donald Trump’s criminal trial has only been going on for one day but already the former president is telling supporters falsehoods about the judge’s rulings.

On Monday afternoon, Mr Trump seethed on Truth Social that Judge Juan Merchan had “prohibited” him from attending his youngest son, Barron Trump’s, high school graduation in May because he must attend his criminal trial that day.

That’s not what happened, as Ariana Baio explains:

Trump is seething about missing Barron’s graduation. Here’s what actually happened

15:54 , Alex Woodward

The next juror is originally from Mexico, became a citizen in 2017, and lives in Hell’s Kitchen. He’s not married – “I don’t live with anyone else, except my dog,” he said.

He gets his news from The New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, X and TikTok, and he listens to LGBT-related podcasts and NPR “every once in a while”.

15:47 , Alex Woodward

The next juror lives in the East Village and works in cyber security. Asked whether she has a friend or relative who works in law, she said “I dated a lawyer for a while. It ended… fine.”

Big laughs in the courtroom and overflow room.

She did, however, say that it would “very difficult” to take off work “due to the nature of my job and the industry I work. I worry quite a bit about that.”

She worries about how present she would be and is excused.

Judge Merchan tells jurors that if they have an answer similar to that, to not wait until the end of the questionnaire to say so.

15:40 , Alex Woodward

The next juror is a grandmother and native New Yorker who lives on the Upper West Side. She has three adult children and two granddaughters. She gets her news from The New York Daily News and TikTok.

Next up another juror says: “After having more time and thinking about it and reading the questions, I don’t think I can be impartial.”

He’s excused.

Trump meanwhile has been slouched in his chair with his jacket crumpled around him, sometimes closing his eyes and pulling his head back, or raising the questions to his face and tilting his head back to read them as jurors answer them.

The next juror is, you guessed it, another attorney. He’s originally from Oregon and lives in Chelsea.

Piers Morgan accuses Americans of ‘losing their minds’ over treatment of Donald Trump during hush money trial

15:40 , Joe Sommerlad

The British pundit has accused Americans of “losing their minds” over the treatment of Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial.

“Have you lost your minds, America? What a demeaning way to treat a former president.” Morgan said during an appearance on Fox News.

“Secondly, if you’re on the left, why would you think this would possibly work? Why would you not think that what you’re doing here is going to almost guarantee Donald Trump wins the next election?”

Piers Morgan accuses Americans of ‘losing their minds’ over treatment of Donald Trump

15:22 , Alex Woodward

The next prospective juror is a native New Yorker who works in Social Security administration as a lawyer. He’s married and his wife is a graphic designer. He enjoys hiking and gardening and gets his news from “mostly local news” outlets including “The Times occasionally.” He has lived on Riverside Drive for 14 years.

Immediately after that juror, the next person said, after giving it some thought, “I don’t think I can be impartial and unbiased.” She’s excused.

The next person says he needs to be at a wedding on June 6 as best man — but will do the questionnaire.

He's an Upper East Side resident, a native New Yorker and an investment banker at KPMG for 7 years who lives with his fiancé, who works at a nonprofit. He gets news from Facebook, X, CNN, Google, WSJ and The New York Post and listens to sports podcasts.

He says the trial will likely be a “strain” on his work and personal life.

Jimmy Kimmel turns one of Trump’s biggest Biden insults against him after bizarre court moment

15:20 , Joe Sommerlad

This was always going to be cat nip to the late night hosts.

Here’s Martha McHardy on Kimmel and “Doze-O the Clown”.

Jimmy Kimmel uses Trump’s ‘Sleepy Joe’ insult against him after bizarre court moment

15:09 , Alex Woodward

The next juror up is a resident of NoMad and has lived there for four years. Originally from Dallas, Texas.

He is a partner in a financial consulting firm, golfs and watches sports, serves on a professional board, works with Make-a-Wish, and has had a DUI.

One of his fraternity brothers is a Republican state lawmaker and he has friends in the legal field.

Asked whether he has “any political, moral, intellectual, or religious beliefs or opinions which might prevent you from following the Court’s instructions on the law or which might slant your approach to this case,” he said yes.

“Growing up a bunch of friends and family are Republicans it’s probably going to be tough to be impartial,” he says.

Judge Merchan told him that “we need an unequivocal assurance from you that you can be fair and impartial,” and asked him to approach the bench. After a moment, Merchan tells him “We appreciate your candour” and “We’re going to have to excuse you at this time.”

Judge continues with jury selection

15:02 , Oliver O'Connell

No word on what happened to the Sandoval hearing, as Judge Juan Merchan moves ahead with jury selection.

Watch: Jon Stewart makes fun of Trump 'sleeping' during hush money court appearance

15:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s the inimitable Daily Show host on the defendant’s big nap yesterday.

The Supreme Court case that could give Jan 6 rioters – and Donald Trump – a break

14:53 , Oliver O'Connell

Ariana Baio reports:

Joseph Fischer, a former police officer from Pennsylvania, allegedly entered the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021, yelling “Charge!”, and rushing the police line.

Fischer, like thousands of other rioters that day, attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in support of former president Donald Trump who had spread false claims of election fraud.

Fischer was arrested and charged with several crimes for his actions on January 6. He is among 330 rioters, along with Mr Trump, charged with obstructing an official proceeding.

But Fischer disputes that charge, claiming it is being unfairly used to prosecute him. The white-collar law was enacted 20 years ago in the wake of the Enron financial scandal.

His case, at the hands of the Supreme Court, could call into question the sentencings and convictions against hundreds of rioters and potentially undermine the two federal charges against Mr Trump.

Continue reading...

The Supreme Court case that could give Jan 6 rioters – and Donald Trump – a break

14:51 , Alex Woodward

Proceedings started late today because the court is still waiting on a few jurors, Judge Merchan says.

Two of them were in the box yesterday so they’re expected back. One of them is experiencing flu-like symptoms, but came to court in a mask and asked to be excused. So she’s out.

Trump seated in court as day two gets underway

14:48 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from the New York Criminal Court:

Having made remarks outside the courtroom [in which he claimed that he was ‘paying a lawyer and marked it down as a legal expense], Donald Trump is now seated at the defence table. His attorneys are milling about talking and both Todd Blanche and Emil Bove have paused to whisper in the former president’s ear.

Attorney Susan Necheles is also at the Team Trump table. Necheles is resting her head on her hand while her elbow is on top of what looks like a mound of paperwork.

The court didn’t seem ready for yesterday’s summer-like weather, so it was uncomfortably warm in here all day. Now the AC is cranked. It’s freezing.

Proceedings will begin today with a Sandoval hearing to discuss the scope of what prosecutors can ask Trump about on cross-examination if he does testify.

Jury selection will then resume. About 100 prospective jurors were called into the court yesterday. Roughly half of them were excused outright. Only nine potential jurors went through the full survey. Another two were dismissed. So there are about 30-40 people still left to go from that batch.

Judge Juan Merchan is on the bench. People of New York v Donald Trump is back for day two.

Why can’t Trump stop verbally attacking judges and prosecutors?

14:40 , Joe Sommerlad

Gustaf Kilander put that precise question to Dr Leonard Glass, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Here’s what he had to say.

Donald Trump can’t seem to stop violating his gag order. We asked psychologists why

Watch: Trump’s remarks on way into courtroom

14:39 , Oliver O'Connell

New York court choreography: How to get 100 reporters into the courthouse

14:12 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Alex Woodward will be in court once again providing us with live coverage of jury selection. Here he explains the complicated process of getting members of the press into the courthouse to cover this historic trial.

There are three lines across the street from the courthouse, one for the 58 reserved/pool reporters, another for credentialed press, and another for press without government press IDs. After the pool reporters are walked across the street, followed by whoever is left in the line of 58. The uncredentialed press are vetted by an officer and admitted to the credentialed line. It’s very cold outside today.

Then batches of eight or so reporters are allowed to cross the street to get into the courtroom to go through the first security line. There are three metal detectors. Then we wait by the elevators to get the all-clear from another officer to go upstairs. There, we get into two lines for another security pass through metal detectors and a full bag check.

At the entrance to the overflow courtroom, officers check press IDs again and hand us slips of cardstock paper that will let us return to the room after the lunch break. Inside the room, a handful of officers stand guard.

Jury selection recommences in about 15 minutes.

Trump demands removal of gag order in pre-court Truth Social rant

14:08 , Oliver O'Connell

Before heading downtown from Trump Tower, Donald Trump fired off a quick post on Truth Social again complaining about Judge Juan Merchan and demanding that his gag order be removed.

Here’s what the former president wrote:

This conflicted, Trump Hating Judge won’t let me respond to people that are on TV lying and spewing hate all day long. He is running rough shod over my lawyers and legal team. The New York System of “Justice” is being decimated by critics from all over the World. I want to speak, or at least be able to respond. Election Interference! RIGGED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL TRIAL! Take off the Gag Order!!!

Judge Juan Merchan barred Trump from making public statements about probable trial witnesses “concerning their potential participation in the investigation or in this criminal proceeding.”

Merchan's order didn’t give specific examples of what types of statements about witnesses were banned. He noted the order was not intended to prevent the former president from responding to political attacks.

The gag order also barred Trump from making public statements of any type about jurors, court staff, lawyers in the case or relatives of prosecutors or of the judge. Trump is allowed to make critical comments about the judge himself and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Watch: Meet the supporters and protesters outside Trump’s criminal trial

14:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s an even closer look at some of the folks who gathered to support the defendant yesterday.

Meet the supporters and protesters outside Trump’s criminal trial

Trump arrives at court for day two of New York hush money trial

13:59 , Joe Sommerlad

The defendant has just arrived at Manhattan Criminal Court for today’s extended nap important hearing.

Here he is leaving Trump Tower a short while ago.

Donald Trump leaving Trump Tower for Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday 16 April 2024 (AP)
Donald Trump leaving Trump Tower for Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday 16 April 2024 (AP)

At Trump’s trial, supporters ask: ‘Who among us hasn’t paid for sex?’

13:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s Richard Hall’s terrific account of the scene outside the courthouse yesterday, where Trump supporters assembled attempting to rationalise this whole sorry business to themselves in what essentially amounted to group therapy with placards.

“It seems the crowds that come out to protest the persecution of Donald Trump are getting smaller, and weirder,” he writes.

Trump supporters gather outside courthouse and ask: Who among us hasn’t paid for sex?

Watch live: Donald Trump’s hush money trial continues in New York for second day

13:30 , Joe Sommerlad

You can watch a livestream of the Manhattan courthouse below, with the defendant expected to arrive shortly.

Stormy Daniels, E Jean Carroll, Fani Willis: The women trying to take down Trump

13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

“People are really vicious, and no place are they more vicious than in their relationships with the opposite sex,” Donald Trump wrote in his 1997 book Trump: The Art of the Comeback.

Based on his own personal, professional and private life, the former president may never have said a truer word.

A brief glance at the history of Donald Trump reveals a sometimes tricky (to put it mildly) relationship with women.

Here’s Kelly Rissman to take a look.

Stormy Daniels, E Jean Carroll, Fani Willis: The women trying to take down Trump

Trump Media stock plunges 18% on first day of ex-president’s trial

12:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s another story likely to anger Sleepy Don: Trump Media & Technology shares plummeted another 18.3 per cent on Monday after the company filed to register millions of additional shares – marking the latest blow for the struggling stock as it’s majority stakeholder goes on trial.

When Wall Street opened at 9.30am ET, the stock dropped by a hefty 13 per cent and continued falling throughout the day, down by 17.5 per cent as of 2.45pm ET.

By the end of trading in New York, Trump Media‘s stock had fallen a total of 18.3 per cent, wiping hundreds of millions of dollars from its value.

The company was valued at around $8bn after its launch last month, but since has seen 60 per cent of its value erased.

MSNBC pundit Stephanie Ruhle responded with this useful insight into what the long game is for Trump here.

Ariana Baio has this report.

Trump Media stock plunges another 18% on first day of ex-president’s hush money trial

Biden team cashes in on Trump’s trial as they post ‘Sleepy Don’ claims

12:15 , Joe Sommerlad

As we saw Chris Hayes point out earlier, this one was such an open goal for the president’s team and they made sure not to miss.

Here’s more from Kelly Rissman.

Biden team cashes in on Trump’s trial day as they share claims of him dozing in court

‘Sleepy Don’: Trump sparks Twitter hilarity as he appears to fall asleep at trial

11:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Let’s get back to “Snoozegate”.

Here’s Kelly Rissman with a round-up of the many, many memes Trump’s doze inspired.

‘Sleepy Don’: Trump sparks Twitter hilarity as he appears to fall asleep at trial

Hush money trial day two: The scene outside court

11:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s the latest dispatch from our man in Manhattan Alex Woodward:

“Morning from the courthouse. The day two blues are real. I figured the crowd of reporters would drop off for the second day of the trial but there’s only a dozen or so people here.

“And it’s likely to be a sleepier day in court. More jury questionnaires, with Judge Juan Merchan hoping to make some kind of dent in the jury pool to move this thing forward.

“A question that started to bubble up yesterday was: ‘Does anyone like this dude?’ Half of the first batch of 100 jurors were immediately excused because they said they couldn’t be fair and impartial against him.

“And none of the dozen prospective jurors who read the 42-question survey said they ever attended a rally, followed him on social media, or received a campaign email from him. One person said she did but she immediately unsubscribed. Another excused juror was overheard by the pool saying she just couldn’t do it.”

Alina Habba roasted over latest trial complaints

11:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Also on Fox last night, Trump’s attorney turned up to push the party-line, bemoaning her client being forced to miss out on the Supreme Court hearing on his suprious “immunity” defence next week and on Barron’s graduation because of the hush money trial.

She was swiftly schooled on both counts.

Fox host attacks Stormy Daniels as Trump’s 'embarrassing mistake’

10:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Laura Ingraham unsurprisingly went to bat for the Republican presidential contender on her show last night, attempting to normalise Trump paying off a porn star as the sort of ordinary gaffe any politician might make.

Hush money trial day one: Fifty potential jurors dismissed saying they could not promise to be fair and impartial

10:15 , Joe Sommerlad

As we’ve just heard, more than half of the original 96-strong pool of Manhattanites considered as potential jurors were dismissed yesterday after saying they could not promise to remain fair and impartial when asked to consider the case against Trump, perhaps as polarising a politician as there has ever been anywhere.

Here’s Gustaf Kilander with a look at the questionnaire the prospective jurors are being asked to complete.

Read the jury questionnaire for the Trump hush money trial in full

Hush money trial day one: Defendant bored as hell and blaming enemies

09:45 , Joe Sommerlad

When he entered a Manhattan courthouse for the first day of his first criminal trial, Trump’s Truth Social account fired off more than a dozen posts slamming the case and attacking the witnesses expected to testify against him.

He staged an impromptu press conference in the hallway outside the doors of the courtroom, turning to a group of cameras to blast the proceedings as “an assault on America”. When he left for the day, he called it a “political witch hunt”.

Inside, beforeThe People of New York v Donald J Trump got under way, he sat by himself for a moment, clasped his fingers together, and stared at the empty bench before him. He would later slouch down in the red chair at the defence table beside his attorneys, with the shoulders of his navy suit jacket bunched around him as he appeared to doze off.

Even as the judge was reading instructions to the group of men and women who could decide whether he’s running for office as a convicted felon, Trump appeared to nod off, prompting a wave of “Sleepy Don” and “Don Snorleone” memes on social media.

Moments later, more than half of those prospective jurors were excused from the case after telling the judge that they could not deliver a fair and impartial verdict against the former president.

Here’s more from Alex Woodward on an inauspicious start for the Republican presidential contender, who could be in for a rough couple of weeks if Monday was anything to go by.

Trump’s first day on criminal trial: Bored as hell and blaming his enemies

Snoozegate: Trump campaign denies claim former president fell asleep in court

09:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Day one of yesterday’s historic criminal trial in New York ended on a nicely absurd note with Trump’s campaign having to furiously deny that the former president fell asleep in court, blasting the claims as “100 per cent fake news”.

According to reporters present in the courtroom on Monday, Trump appeared at times to be struggling to keep his eyes open, with some going so far as to claim that he had actually fallen asleep.

The observation quickly prompted an onslaught of nicknames and jokes on social media.

The major news networks also had some fun with it.

But in a statement shared with The Independent following the conclusion of proceedings, the campaign said: “This is 100% Fake News coming from ‘journalists’ who weren’t even in the court room.”

Here’s more from Mike Bedigan.

Trump campaign furiously denies claim former president fell asleep in court

Truth Social: Trump gripes about case and wishes Americans a ‘Happy Tax Day’

08:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Unsurprisingly, Your Favourite President has been moaning about the hush money on Truth Social again overnight, moving on from complaining about missing Barron’s high to graduation ceremony to whining that he will also be forced to miss the Supreme Court’s hearing on his dubious “presidential immunity” defence on Thursday 25 April.

Elsewhere, he’s been posting favourable Fox coverage from yesterday, attempting to fundraise off his legal “persecution” and, er, wishing Americans a “Happy Tax Day”.

Ho ho ho, what will you be asking Janet Yellen for this year little boy?

Does Trump have to be in court every day of hush money trial?

07:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump will be in court on Monday, becoming the first American president to face a criminal trial.

It focuses on accusations by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg that Trump falsified business records, a felony in the state of New York, including to conceal a “hush money” payment he is alleged to have made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The payment was allegedly made amid the 2016 presidential election to try and silence her over an extramarital affair Daniels alleges she had with the former president more trhan a decade .

The former president is required to be at the trial every day, as New York state law makes it a necessity for defendants to be personally present during the trial.

Amelia Neath reports:

Does Trump have to be in court every day of hush money trial?

Hush money trial: What prison sentence could Trump face if he is convicted?

05:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump is the first American president to face a criminal trial now that the New York “hush money” case against him has finally begun.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee for 2024 stands accused by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg of falsifying his business records, a felony in New York state, in order to allegedly conceal a secret payment made to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign to ensure her silence over an extramarital affair she alleges she had with the businessman a decade earlier.

Mr Trump denies the affair and any wrongdoing in the case after being hit with 34 felony charges by Mr Bragg a little over a year ago.

Continue reading...

What prison sentence could Trump face if he is convicted at his hush money trial?

How did a porn star become one of the most powerful people in politics?

03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Io Dodds explains how Stormy Daniels and the hush money paid to her before the 2016 election landed her in the middle of a political firestorm that could take down a former president.

How Stormy Daniels became one of the most powerful people in politics

ICYMI: Trump posts video blaming Biden for criminal trials

02:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has lashed out at President Joe Biden in a Truth Social video accusing the president of being a “criminal” after he failed to delay an imminent criminal trial in Manhattan.

Mr Trump lost three last-ditch bids in three days to delay his New York hush money trial, with jury selection set to begin on Monday.

The former president faces 88 felony counts across four state and federal prosecutions as he campaigns for a return to the White House. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

Continue reading...

Trump posts video blaming Biden for criminal trials

Trump furious that he cannot attend son’s graduation ceremony

02:05 , Mike Bedigan

 (@realDonaldTrump/ Truth Social)
(@realDonaldTrump/ Truth Social)

Trump campaign furiously denies claim former president fell asleep in court

01:45 , Mike Bedigan

According to court reporters present in the courtroom on Monday, Mr Trump appeared at times to be struggling to keep his eyes open, with some going so far as to claim that he had actually fallen asleep.

His campign later furiously denied that the former president fell asleep in court during the first day of his historic criminal trial in New York, blasting the claims as “100% fake news”.

Read the full story here:

How do Trump’s trial dates and the 2024 election overlap?

01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

In a typical presidential election year, candidates will spend the 11 months leading up to election day shaking hands and kissing babies at rallies as the primaries unfold.

But nothing is typical when it comes to Donald Trump.

Instead, the ex-president will be forced to juggle his campaign for the White House while also defending himself in federal and state courts in four different cases that have hearings and trial dates scattered throughout 2024.

Ariana Baio reports:

How Trump’s trial dates and the 2024 election overlap

Who is Alvin Bragg?

Tuesday 16 April 2024 00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward profiles the Manhattan District Attorney who could seal Donald Trump’s fate...

Who is Alvin Bragg, the district attorney who could bring down Trump?

Hush money trial: All the wild defences Trump has given so far

Tuesday 16 April 2024 00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump’s legal team has used various defences for — and attempts to delay — the hush money case in which he is accused of 34 counts of falsifying business records.

None of them so far have worked, writes Kelly Rissman:

Hush money trial: All the wild defences Trump has given so far

How the Stormy Daniels hush money case unfolded

Monday 15 April 2024 23:30 , Oliver O'Connell

With day one of this historic moment at a close, let’s go back to the beginning, and look at the major milestones of the Trump-Stormy relationship:

What did Trump do? Inside the Stormy Daniels case that led to Trump’s arrest

Outside of his historic first criminal trial, Trump supporters ask: Who among us hasn’t paid for sex?

Monday 15 April 2024 23:12 , Oliver O'Connell

Richard Hall writes:

You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, but what about the people who come out to protest at their criminal trial?

Had Donald Trump glanced out of a window on his way to the Manhattan Supreme Court for the opening day of his historic trial, he would have seen that his supporters had dwindled since his arraignment a little over a year ago.

Back then, there was palpable shock and outrage among the gathered protesters that a former president could be arrested and charged with a crime. Although that was no great mass either, that day in March last year seemed to attract not just hardcore followers, but a smattering of relatively middle-of-the-road folks concerned about the implications of such an event.

Today, however, the crowd had thinned to a handful of true believers and true characters — those who don’t leave their house without a giant flag, a bullhorn, and an offensive T-shirt they made themselves.

It’s not only that the crowds are getting smaller, it’s that they are getting significantly weirder.

Continue reading...

Trump supporters gather outside courthouse and ask: Who among us hasn’t paid for sex?

Florida classified documents case: Potential blow for Trump as lawyer-turned-witness leaves legal team

Monday 15 April 2024 22:20 , Oliver O'Connell

A long-time attorney for Trump who is expected to be a key witness in a criminal case targeting the former president’s possession of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago has reportedly left his legal team.

Evan Corcoran, who recused himself from the Florida case last year, is no longer representing the former president in any of his criminal and civil cases, according to CNN.

Corcoran quickly found himself at the centre of the classified documents case after he was hired to represent the former president, who faces a 40-count indictment alleging violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction, and the illegal removal of federal records after he left the White House.

His prolific notes and voice recordings that reportedly detail his exchanges with Trump have become central to special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution, revealing how the former president allegedly misled his then-attorney about his mishandling of sensitive documents and attempts to evade a subpoena.

Alex Woodward brings us this one.

Potential blow for Trump as lawyer-turned-witness leaves legal team, report says

Can Trump still run for president as he heads to trial with four criminal indictments?

Monday 15 April 2024 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has insisted he will remain in the race for the White House regardless of the outcomes of the criminal cases against him, but with potential convictions and judgements in both federal and state indictments, and possible multi-million dollar lawsuits to fight in tandem with campaigning, does he really have a political future?

Continue reading...

Can Trump still be president as he heads to trial with four criminal indictments?

Watch: Trump claims judge won’t let him attend son’s graduation

Monday 15 April 2024 21:56 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Juan Merchan has not ruled on that yet, but he did say he wanted the former president in his court when the Supreme Court hears arguments on presidential immunity next week.

Trump asks to attend Supreme Court immunity hearing

Monday 15 April 2024 21:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from court:

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche says Donald Trump wants to attend next week’s Supreme Court hearing on immunity.

“He could be back here in the afternoon, by lunchtime,” Blanche says.

Judge Merchan responds: “He’s required to be here. He’s not required to be at the Supreme Court. I will see him here next week.”

Monday 15 April 2024 21:31 , Alex Woodward

The final prospective juror the court hears from today is a native New Yorker and oncology nurse who gets news from The New York Times, CNN, Google and Facebook.

Her fiance works in finance.

Judge Merchan excuses the panel for the day instructing them to be back on time so they can start at 9.30am tomorrow.

Monday 15 April 2024 21:26 , Alex Woodward

The eighth prospective juror is an Upper East Side resident of three years, originally from the suburbs of Chicago.

She works in social media marketing. In her spare time, she watches sports and reality TV. She gets her news from “Google, Facebook, X, TikTok, Instagram and The Wall Street Journal.”

Her father, brothers and boyfriend all work in finance. She once used to receive Trump-related emails of some kind but unsubscribed.

Monday 15 April 2024 21:22 , Alex Woodward

The next juror is a prosecutor with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office who lives on the Upper East Side. He says he can be impartial.

He watches Fox News, “no talk radio,” and “my girlfriend works in finance at a bank but I honestly don’t know what she does.”

Monday 15 April 2024 21:21 , Alex Woodward

The next juror has lived in the Upper West Side for 20 years and is a bookseller. He’s married with two children and hiswife is a lawyer. He watches movies, reads, goes to Broadway shows, and works with a pediatric cancer organisation

He listens to the radio – “whatever is on when my alarm goes off, whenever is on when I’m in the shower, whatever is on in the car” – and “the talk radio is NPR, on all three.”

On question 31 (“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about whether a former president may be criminally charged in state court?“), he answers: “Nobody is above the law, whether it’s a former president, a sitting president, or a janitor.”

Monday 15 April 2024 21:17 , Alex Woodward

The next prospective juror is a married lawyer with a pregnant wife who works as a production manager.

He cooks in his spare time and reads The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and listens to NPR’s UpFirst podcast.

Court resumes

Monday 15 April 2024 21:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The potential jurors are welcomed back by Judge Merchan and before answering the questionnaire, the prospective juror we left off with asks to be excused because his child is getting married in Seattle.

Judge Merchan excuses him, saying: “Congratulations, and good luck.”

Alex Woodward reports that the next juror is Irish, lives in Harlem, works as a waiter, attended some college, likes “outdoorsy” things and gets news from The New York Times, Daily Mail, Fox News and MSNBC.

Trump is attentively watching the proceedings.

Trump glares at Haberman after report he fell asleep, report says

Monday 15 April 2024 21:01 , Oliver O'Connell

According to the press pool report from inside the courtroom, after the jurors leave the courtroom for the brief break, Trump stared over at District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

He then turned his eyes to the press pool. As he exits, he glares at New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman for several seconds as he walks out. She reported that he fell asleep in court leading to widespread online mockery.

Monday 15 April 2024 20:49 , Oliver O'Connell

Monday 15 April 2024 20:46 , Oliver O'Connell

Court is on a short recess.

Monday 15 April 2024 20:43 , Alex Woodward

A fourth prospective juror is married, lives in the Upper West Side, is originally from Pennsylvania, likes to “cook, artwork, go to parks and shows in the city” in her free time, and gets her news from The New York Times, CNN and Google. Asked if she has any “opinions about the legal limits governing political contributions,” she said yes.

So far nobody has said they’ve gone to a Trump event or ever followed him on social media. Also, nobody listens to the radio.

Monday 15 April 2024 20:35 , Alex Woodward

The second potential juror is married, lives in midtown and has worked as creative director for Lands End, previously Kenneth Cole. He likes hiking, cooking and playing with his dog.

He reads The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal, “that’s about it.”

The third juror sounds young, is from Texas, lives in Harlem, works at a company and likes to “sing, watch TV, go shopping, and go to the club” in her free time.

She gets her news from Google, TikTok and Al Jazeera.

To this question: “Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump, or the fact that he is a current candidate for president that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?”

She said yes. So they chat with her about that to see whether she should be excused— and she is.

Classified documents trial: Judge urged to reject Trump’s latest delay attempt

Monday 15 April 2024 22:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Special counsel Jack Smith has urged the federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s classified documents case to reject his latest attempt to delay the trial.

It comes after Mr Trump’s attorneys asked US District Judge Aileen Cannon on Saturday to push back a May deadline for reviewing classified evidence in the criminal case over his alleged mishandling of classified and sensitive government information stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

The former president’s legal team argued that they cannot meet the May deadline because Mr Trump is currently on trial in Manhattan for a separate case in which he is accused of falsifying business records in order to conceal a “hush money” payment made to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election. Trump denies all charges against him.

Martha McHardy reports:

Judge urged to reject Trump's latest attempt to delay classified documents trial

First potential juror begins answering questions

Monday 15 April 2024 20:25 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports:

The first prospective juror is a married woman with an MBA who likes restaurants in the city and reads The New York Times, CNN and Wall Street Journal and listens to The Daily.

On this question — “Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump, or the fact that he is a current candidate for president that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?” — she said “no.”

Trump is following along with the list of questions. He’s holding up the paper close to his face and leaning back to read it.

34 potential jurors remain out of initial 96

Monday 15 April 2024 20:23 , Oliver O'Connell

A further nine jurors were excused after Judge Merchan asked if they could not serve for any other reason, leaving 34 of the original 96 from which the 18 were selected to answer the jury questionnaire.

Of the excused jurors, more than two dozen were white women.

Monday 15 April 2024 20:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Kathryn Watson of CBS News notes that for many of the prospective jurors, their first time ever seeing a current or former president in person is in criminal court:

Alex Woodward reports on the process of selecting a jury:

This is the first step in a two-step “hybrid” selection process intended to weed out people who cannot serve quickly before getting to the 42-question survey.

The video feed has been cut off but it sounds like at least a dozen jurors said they can’t be fair and impartial.

And now we’re doing another round, asking jurors to “raise your hand if you are unable to serve for any other reason,” like travel, medical or family obligations, etc.

18 prospective jurors are now being randomly called be seated to answer the questionnaire.

Per pool reporters in the courtroom: At least 50 jurors of the pool of 96 people were excused after they said they couldn’t be fair and impartial...

Monday 15 April 2024 20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from the court:

Trump’s eyes are closed.

He then leans back, looking at the judge. He’s occasionally been turning towards the jury box but he’s been pretty tuned out the last 20 minutes.

Trump’s attorneys don’t seem to care, none of them have nudged him or acknowledged him, so this might just be standard Trump to them.

Meanwhile, Judge Merchan has asked first-round question to potential jurors, whether they believe they can’t be fair and impartial, considering the circumstances.

#SleepyDon trends as Biden campaign reposts video clip saying Trump fell asleep in court

Monday 15 April 2024 19:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Not missing a beat, the Biden-Harris campaign retweeted the CNN clip in which journalist Maggie Haberman said that Donald Trump fell asleep in court:

Here’s Kelly Rissman with reaction from social media as #SleepyDon trends:

‘Sleepy Don’: Trump sparks Twitter hilarity as he appears to fall asleep at trial

Judge reads potential jurors instruction on allegations against Trump

Monday 15 April 2024 19:43 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports from the court:

Judge Juan Merchan read a portion of the jury instructions to the court.

The allegations are in substance, that Donald Trump falsified business records to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election. Specifically, it is alleged that Donald Trump made or caused false business records to hide the true nature of payments made to Michael Cohen, by characterizing them as payment for legal services rendered pursuant to a retainer agreement. The People allege that in fact, the payments were intended to reimburse Michael Cohen for money he paid to Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, in the weeks before the presidential election to prevent her from publicly revealing details about a past sexual encounter with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies the allegations.

First batch of psotential jurors sworn in

Monday 15 April 2024 19:38 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports from the court:

Judge Merchan returns to the courtroom and says the hearing on Trump’s alleged gag order violations and contempt charge will now take place next Tuesday 23 April at 930am and not on 24 April as previously reported.

Video and audio feeds to the media room were switched off as the first 96 potential jurors were brought into court. We presumably will get them back once the cameras are reset to block them out. There are about two hours left in today’s proceedings, and attorneys get 30 minutes for this batch of jurors.

They are now being sworn in and Judge Merchan tells them instructions will take 30 minutes.

Trump is leaning forward at the table, he appears to be reading something, bobbing his head left to right as he scans the page.

The judge introduced the defence team, and Trump stood up with them and turned to the jurors in the room.