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The first criminal trial of a former US president began in Manhattan with jury selection for a trial involving a hush money payment to an adult film star. Former President Donald Trump criticized the trial as an assault on America and faces potential consequences for violating a gag order against attacking trial participants. The trial, which is expected to last two months, began with the process of selecting an impartial jury, with more than half of the initial potential jurors being excused for bias.

Trump has requested to be involved in sidebars during jury selection, a rare move for a defendant. The court aims to select 12 jurors and six alternates from a pool of around 500 potential jurors per day, focusing on identifying those who can remain impartial despite their opinions of Trump. Past civil cases involving Trump in New York have resulted in guilty verdicts, showing the potential impact of juror biases on the trial.

The court will allow testimony from key witnesses such as Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal but will exclude information about McDougal’s allegations during Trump’s wife’s pregnancy. Evidence from the “Access Hollywood” tape and testimony from E. Jean Carroll will also be limited in the trial. Discussions about Michael Cohen and his involvement in the hush money payments will be nuanced to prevent bias against Trump. Trump will have to endure uncomfortable discussions about these topics throughout the trial.

The trial involves high-stakes prosecution of a former president and the selection of an impartial jury to ensure a fair trial. The case includes testimony from former Trump aides and women who allege affairs with him, with specific evidence allowed and restricted by the judge. Court proceedings will focus on identifying potential jurors who can set aside personal opinions and remain fair in their judgment. Trump’s involvement in sidebars during jury selection is uncommon for defendants, indicating the unique nature of this trial.

The trial’s start focused on jury selection, with challenges in finding impartial jurors due to the high-profile nature of the case and the defendant. Potential jurors will be asked about their ability to remain unbiased despite their knowledge and opinions about Trump. The trial is expected to last for months, with a lengthy jury selection process to ensure a fair trial for the former president. The court will aim to balance allowing relevant evidence with limiting prejudicial information in the trial proceedings. Trump’s discomfort during the trial, as uncomfortable topics are discussed, may present challenges for the former president as the proceedings continue.

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