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The judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York City has announced that he will hear arguments later this month on whether Trump violated a gag order in the case, which would result in $1,000 fines for each violation. The prosecutors argued that Trump had violated the order three times in social media posts and requested that he be held in contempt. Trump’s defense attorney argued that the former president was responding to attacks by witnesses and defended his actions. The defense team has until April 19 to file a written response to the prosecutors’ claims of violating the gag order.

The hush money case against Trump began on Monday, marking the first time a former president is standing trial on criminal charges. The case centers around former Trump attorney Michael Cohen paying Stormy Daniels hush money before the 2016 election to silence her claims of an affair with Trump in 2006. Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and falsely recorded the payments as legal expenses. Trump has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty to falsifying business records. He has called the case a “witch hunt” and “political persecution” both on social media and during campaign rallies.

The trial began with jury selection, where a pool of more than 500 potential jurors will be asked a series of questions to determine if they can fairly assess the case. The jurors will be selected until a pool of 12 jurors and a few alternates are chosen. The jury selection process is expected to last at least a week. Trump’s legal team stated that he wants to be present for each interview, but logistical challenges may arise due to his Secret Service presence. The trial is highly anticipated as it is the first trial of a former president on criminal charges.

The district attorney’s office argued that Trump’s social media posts violated the gag order prohibiting him from making public statements about witnesses and their expected testimony. The prosecutors are seeking $1,000 fines for each violation of the order and have requested that Trump remove the posts. Trump’s defense attorney countered that the former president was defending himself against attacks from witnesses. The judge will hear arguments on April 24 regarding the alleged violations of the gag order and will consider whether Trump should be held in contempt.

Despite facing 34 charges of falsifying business records, Trump has maintained his innocence and referred to the trial as an “assault on America” and “political persecution.” He expressed pride in his defense and denounced the case as unjust. The trial’s significance lies in its historical nature as the first trial of a former president on criminal charges. Trump’s denial of the affair with Stormy Daniels and his plea of not guilty to the charges set the stage for a contentious legal battle. The outcome of the trial will have far-reaching implications for Trump and his legacy.

As the hush money trial proceeds, the court is navigating challenges such as determining potential jurors, addressing alleged violations of the gag order by Trump, and managing the high-profile nature of the case. The legal proceedings are unfolding amid intense media coverage and public scrutiny. With the trial marking a groundbreaking moment in legal history, the focus remains on the judicial process and the implications it may have for Trump and the broader political landscape. The trial’s outcome will determine the next chapter in Trump’s legal battles and shape perceptions of his presidency.

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