Hush money trial: Trump trial: jury stands – man sets himself on fire in court

Hush money trial: Trump trial: jury stands – man sets himself on fire in court

The jury is in and the first criminal trial against an ex-US president can really get started. The hush money proceedings against Donald Trump are overshadowed by an incident in court.

A jury and six alternate jurors have been found, and the opening arguments in the hush money trial against Donald Trump can now begin on Monday. Five more replacement jurors were sworn in on Friday, as journalists present in the courtroom unanimously reported. On Thursday, the twelve-member jury had already been put together and a first replacement juror had been found.

After around four days of difficult searching, the jury for the first criminal trial against a former US president now consists of seven men and five women, plus five women and one man as substitute jurors. They all live in Manhattan and work, among other things, as teachers, bank employees, lawyers, physical therapists or at a clothing company. Some of them are married and have children. However, their identities remain secret in accordance with strict court rules.

Judge Juan Merchan announced that the trial will continue with opening statements on Monday. The case against Trump involves hush money payments to a porn actress. The public prosecutor’s office accuses the Republican, who wants to be re-elected US President in November, of falsifying business documents. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Trump is likely to run in the election if he is sentenced to prison

According to the court, the process could take up to eight weeks. If convicted, the 77-year-old faces a prison sentence of several years, which could also be suspended. Trump would also have the opportunity to appeal. Even after a conviction – and even in the event of a prison sentence – Trump is likely to run in the presidential election.

The background to the case is that Trump had $130,000 in hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016, shortly before his election as president. She had claimed to have had sex with him. Trump denies an affair, but does not deny that money was flowed. Non-disclosure agreements between two parties are not inherently illegal. However, Trump is accused of illegally recording the payments, trying to conceal them illegally and thereby trying to cover up other violations of the law.

Man sets himself on fire during trial

The trial was overshadowed on Friday by an incident near the hall in which the proceedings are taking place. A 37-year-old man set himself on fire in a park across from the courthouse during the ongoing criminal trial, the New York fire and police department said at a press conference. Eyewitnesses screamed and tried to help, reported the New York Times and CNN, among others. After a short time, police officers came and extinguished the flames. The man was then carried into an ambulance and taken to hospital. According to the fire department, he was in critical condition. Six rescue workers were also slightly injured. The security concept for the area around the courthouse is now being reviewed.

It was initially unclear why the man set himself on fire. According to eyewitnesses and media reports, the man had thrown leaflets into the air before the crime, which discussed various conspiracy theories.

The incident occurred at Collect Pond Park. The court building was cordoned off and numerous police officers were on duty. As on every day of the trial, dozens of media representatives with cameras and broadcast vans gathered around. Opponents and supporters of Trump are allowed to gather in the park for demonstrations – but only a few have done so on the days of the trial. The area has barricades all around, but also open entrances.

The Trump trial was not affected by the incident, a court spokesman said. A White House spokeswoman said it was “very sad news.”

Source: Stern

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