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Trump angrily denies falling asleep during trial amid ‘Don Snoreleone’ mockery: Live

Donald Trump‘s campaign 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 Corleone from the Godfather series.

The former president 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 over 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 occurred to violate state or federal election laws.

Mr Trump denies the affair and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jury selection in the trail began on Monday and will continue on Tuesday.

Key Points

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

  • Trump reportedly fell asleep in court

  • Judge to allow discussion of Access Hollywood tape

  • Judge will allow evidence about Karen McDougal but not Melania Trump’s pregnancy

  • Trump unleashes Truth Social rant as he wakes to historic first day of criminal hush money trial

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.

Why can’t Trump stop verbally attacking people?

Monday 15 April 2024 19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

This morning, just hours before the trial was set to begin, he called the case a “witch hunt” as he argued for the trial to “be ended by the highly conflicted presiding Judge”.

It’s become an increasingly common refrain from Mr Trump, who appears unable to stop his attacks even when they put him in increased legal, personal, and financial jeopardy.

A litany of pundits have argued that if Mr Trump could just stop talking about himself and start talking about the issues voters care about, he’d be much likelier to win re-election this fall.

Gustaf Kilander reports:

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

Judge gives Trump team 24 hours to look through exhibits

Monday 15 April 2024 19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from the court:

Judge Juan Merchan will hear prosecutors’ contempt charges on Wednesday 24 April at 2:15pm.

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche wants more time to look through exhibits – a deadline that he blew past two months ago. The initial deadline, before the new flood of federal documents, was 22 February.

Merchan is giving him 24 hours. Otherwise, the defence will be precluded from using them.

The judge hammers the defence for a wave of motions within the last two months to try to get the case dismissed. “Frivolous or not … the defence team was very busy filing motions,” he said.

“I don’t know how you managed to get all those motions out …. One Sunday you got three premotions to me with exhibits and attachments,” he added. “The way you use your time is your business … I’m giving you 24 hours.”

Blanche is not thrilled.

He blustered a bit and handed off to Susan Necheles, her first time talking in court today. She was barely mic’d up so we could barely hear her.

Blanche is leaning towards Trump to listen to him speak. Trump is gesturing with both hands, scowling as he typically does, while he’s hunched in his chair with the shoulders of his suit jacket scrunched around him.

All is quiet in court as we wait for the jurors to come in.

Watch: Trump wants to join sidebars during jury selection

Monday 15 April 2024 18:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer hammers Trump over abortion: ‘He’s lied over and over again’

Monday 15 April 2024 18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

One of the Democratic Party’s rising stars was on Trump’s case over the weekend over what she said were the “lies” the former president had told the American people for years about his stance on reproductive rights.

The presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee to take on President Joe Biden in 2024, Trump released a video last Monday outlining his (current) stance on the issue of abortion rights.

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer joined Sunday’s Meet The Press on NBC and responded to moderator Kristen Welker’s assertion that Trump was “straddling the line” on the issue.

John Bowden reports on what she had to say.

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer hammers Trump over abortion ‘lies’

Watch: Trump appeared to fall asleep, Haberman says

Monday 15 April 2024 18:06 , Oliver O'Connell

New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman says Donald Trump appeared to be asleep for some of this morning’s hearing.

Trump couldn’t pardon Jan 6 rioters even if he wins in November, report argues

Monday 15 April 2024 17:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump has repeatedly promised to pardon supporters of his who have been charged, convicted and, in some cases, imprisoned for crimes committed during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

But according to a new report from anti-authoritarianism group Protect Democracy, he may not actually have that power even if he is returned to the White House after this year’s election.

The report, titled Checking the Pardon Power: Constitutional Limitations & Options for Preventing Abuse, lays out a number of circumstances in which a presidential pardon would not be valid because it would not be a legitimate use of the president’s authority to grant reprieves for “offenses against the United States”.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Trump couldn’t pardon Jan 6 rioters even if he wins in November, suggests new report

Trump Media stock plunges again as former president faces trial

Monday 15 April 2024 17:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump Media shares plummeted more than 13 per cent on Monday morning after the company filed to register millions of additional shares – marking the latest blow for the struggling stock.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) said it was proposing releasing 21.4 million shares of common stock.

Trump Media, the parent company of Truth Social, said the plan – a move that could help the company at a time it is losing money – was issuable “upon the exercise of warrants”, which give investors the ability to buy shares of stock at a certain price in a specific timeframe.

However, issuing new stock can devalue existing shareholders’ stock.

Ariana Baio reports:

Trump Media stock plunges 13% on morning of ex-president’s first criminal trial

Prosecutors want to hold Trump in contempt over Truth Social posts

Monday 15 April 2024 17:28 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports from the courthouse:

Prosecutors are now calling up Trump’s latest series of posts from the 1 April gag order and demanding that Trump remove them. The written request does not include a post from earlier this morning.

“It’s entirely possible it could have been done in this courthouse,” prosecutors argue.

The prosecution is asking for permission to file a motion to hold Trump in contempt of court, with a fine of $1,000 for each violation.

Todd Blanche calls them “limited responses to a barrage of attacks”.

“It’s not as if President Trump is going out and targeting individuals. He’s responding to salacious, repeated, vehement attacks,” he adds.

The court is now breaking for lunch until 1.30pm.

Trump want to be present for everything, says lawyer

Monday 15 April 2024 17:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports for The Independent from the courthouse:

Todd Blanche just gave a word salad answer to elaborate on whether Trump will waive his presence at any point in the trial. His initial reply, however, was: “President Trump wants to be present for everything.”

Judge Merchan asked Trump a series of questions that all criminal defendants typically receive, including whether he understands that he has a right to be present at the trial, that his right to be present based on his conduct can be stripped, and that he can be sentenced in absentia. Each time he was asked if he understood, Trump could be seen nodding and mouthing yes.

Monday 15 April 2024 17:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump sits with his attorneys as Judge Juan Merchan oversees the proceedings at Manhattan Criminal Court on 15 April 2024 in this courtroom sketch by Christine Cornell (via REUTERS)
Former President Donald Trump sits with his attorneys as Judge Juan Merchan oversees the proceedings at Manhattan Criminal Court on 15 April 2024 in this courtroom sketch by Christine Cornell (via REUTERS)

Judge keen to move to jury selection

Monday 15 April 2024 17:06 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from the court in Lower Manhattan:

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche is now raising some issues with the court’s filing rules. He claimed he wasn’t even allowed to email the court. “That’s not entirely accurate,” Judge Merchan said, cutting him off. “You are permitted to email the court.”

The judge reminded the parties that the reason the court adopted rules for pre-trial motions and motion letters is that they were “inundated” with them, “most of which were close to frivolous if not frivolous.”

“I’m really not interested in getting into this minutia,” he said at one point, mentioning there’s 500 jurors waiting to get called up. “There’s more important work to be done.”

Merchan is now reading through the trial roadmap, how the trial works, what parties are and are not allowed to say to or ask of witnesses, etc.

Monday 15 April 2024 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports:

Judge Merchan says his earlier decision regarding Michael Cohen was clear, and leaves it at that.

Prosecutors “certainly cannot imply or suggest” that because Cohen pleaded guilty Mr Trump is also guilty.”

First courtroom sketches show historic trial

Monday 15 April 2024 16:57 , Oliver O'Connell

In this courthouse sketch drawn from a divided video monitor, former President Donald Trump, lower right frame, center, confers with defense attorney Todd Blanche as Judge Juan Merchan, upper left, and prosecutor Joshua Steingless, lower left, look on (AP)
In this courthouse sketch drawn from a divided video monitor, former President Donald Trump, lower right frame, center, confers with defense attorney Todd Blanche as Judge Juan Merchan, upper left, and prosecutor Joshua Steingless, lower left, look on (AP)
Former President Donald Trump sits with his attorney Todd Blanche before Justice Juan Merchan (REUTERS)
Former President Donald Trump sits with his attorney Todd Blanche before Justice Juan Merchan (REUTERS)

Prosecutors seek clarification about what can be said about Cohen’s 2018 guilty plea

Monday 15 April 2024 16:50 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports from court:

Prosecutors want clarification about what they can say about Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to campaign finance violations. Trump lawyer Todd Blanche said the defence doesn’t intend to open the door to that plea during cross-examination.

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations as well as tax evasion and making false statements in 2018, including an admission that he received “$280,000 in payments to be made to silence two women who otherwise planned to speak publicly about their alleged affairs with a presidential candidate, thereby intending to influence the 2016 presidential election,” according to federal prosecutors at the time.

Blanche said the defence has no intention of raising the campaign finance violations when they bring up charges against him.

“I’m not sure how you can pick and choose,” Judge Merchan replied.

Monday 15 April 2024 16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Court resumes.

Monday 15 April 2024 16:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Court is taking a 15-minute break.

Prosecutors ask to admit communications about Michael Cohen

Monday 15 April 2024 16:11 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports from court:

Prosecutors now asking to admit tweets and “back-door” communications showing Trump trying to keep Cohen close and dissuade him from cooperating with law enforcement.

“The truth is Michael Cohen stayed loyal as long as he did because of the defendant’s pressure campaign,” Steinglass said.

Steinglass also points to Truth Social posts from around the time of grand jury presentation in this case in early 2023, including a post on March 15 2022:

“I did nothing wrong in the horse face case,” Trump said at the time. “She knows nothing about me other than her conman lawyer, Avenatti, and convicted liar and felon, jailbird Michael Cohen, may have schemed up.”

Trump was using his platform “to influence the work of the grand jury,” Steinglass said.

The trial jury should be able to consider “his very public statements” seen “as attempts to intimidate witnesses to stay quiet,” he added. “This effort continues to this very day.”

Steinglass mentions a forthcoming motion to show why Trump shouldn’t be held in contempt for his statements about the trial.

Steinglass argued Trump’s ongoing comments about trial witnesses are a “blatant violation of the court order about extrajudicial statements,” the gag order in the case.

He pointed to one from last week that thanked Michael Avenatti for revealing the “truth” about “two sleaze bags,” followed by another post referring to Cohen and Daniels.

Monday 15 April 2024 16:02 , Oliver O'Connell

The judge denies prosecutors’ attempt to bring in unrelated sexual assault allegations against Trump.

Steinglass showed several statements from Trump and comments at his campaign rallies in 2016 that he argued “powerfully demonstrate the extent to which Trump was preoccupied” with those allegations before Election Day.

“His comments make little sense taken out of context” and are “clearly referring to allegations of sexual assault,” he added. “This concern over losing female voters was the catalyst … to lock down the Stormy Daniels story.”

The judge says the statements are all admissible but the allegations themselves are not.

Judge to allow discussion of Access Hollywood tape

Monday 15 April 2024 15:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Here’s the latest from The Independent’s Alex Woodward: at the courthouse:

Judge Merchan allows discussion of what is said on the tape – but reiterates that jurors cannot see the actual tape.

He also does not allow the transcript from Trump’s deposition in the E Jean Carroll case about the tape, arguing that all that the transcript shows is that Trump admits to saying that.

“My ruling that we were not to play the tape was and remains that the tape itself is so prejudicial, to see Mr Trump depicted, the words coming out of his mouth, his facial expressions, the hand gestures,” he said.

An email thread about the comments on the tape, however, “demonstrates and bolsters the People’s claim that this was a … critical event, and there was a response within the campaign,” Judge Merchan said.

“The people are not limited to the choice of words that are used in describing the tape,” he added, saying that prosecutors can “bring out what was said” on the tape but not use his own voice to show it.

Prosecutor asks to admit transcripts of Access Hollywood tape

Monday 15 April 2024 15:51 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports:

Prosecutors are asking to admit transcripts that describe what exactly was said in the Access Hollywood tape, which the judge has previously denied showing jurors.

Steinglass said that “excluding the actual words used” and hearing what that tape was about and why it had such a “dramatic impact on the campaign” is misleading to jurors.

He read part of the transcript: “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”

He also mentioned that Trump himself called his remarks “locker room talk,” but if jurors can’t read or hear what was said, they won’t know what he was actually responding to, Steinglass argues.

Here’s some background on the infamous tape and its relevance to the trial:

'Access Hollywood' tape won't be played at Donald Trump's hush-money criminal trial, judge rules

Need to catch up on who’s who?

Monday 15 April 2024 15:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Want to know more about the key players in the case, including Karen McDougal?

Check out Ariana Baio’s guide to who’s who in the hush money trial:

Key players in Trump’s hush money trial

Judge will allow evidence about Karen McDougal but not Melania Trump’s pregnancy

Monday 15 April 2024 15:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports:

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass also is asking to introduce evidence about Karen McDougal and to argue that Melania Trump was pregnant at the time of Trump’s affair.

The judge allows that narrative but not the inclusion of Ms Trump’s pregnancy.

But he notes that “we don’t know how evidence will be brought in” or what will come up in cross-examination and whether any “doors” will open.

Steinglass said prosecutors have “no intent to elicit salacious details of the affair … unless the defendant opens the door,” but the fact she was pregnant lends credence to the idea that the release of the story would be damaging to his campaign, and reveals the “lengthy they would go to suppress it,” he said.

“The only value would be to embarrass President Trump,” Todd Blanche said in response.

“The risk of unfair prejudice is through the roof,” he added. “It has nothing to do with the trial. He’s not charged with this conduct.”

The “interjection” of McDougal’s story into this trial creates a “side trial we can’t do anything about,” he said. “It’s literally just salacious without value.”

Monday 15 April 2024 15:33 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Merchan will allow it, with some minor reservations.

“I believe the People have demonstrated that being able to establish that there was this understanding – I want to stay away from the word ‘conspiracy’ that wasn’t charged in this case … in furtherance of this goal,” he said.

Understanding that is “necessary to complete the narrative of what took place,” he said.

Prosecutors ask to admit evidence of ‘catch and kill’ scheme

Monday 15 April 2024 15:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from the court:

Prosecutors are asking to admit evidence to underscore the August 2015 Trump Tower agreement that outlined the “catch and kill” scheme.

David Pecker and AMI would “serve as the eyes and the ears of the campaign” and “gather information that would be harmful to the trump candidacy and report to Michael Cohen … to prevent that information from ever seeing the light of day,” according to Joshua Steinglass.

The agreement also included a plan to “publish positive stories about Trump and negative stories of his opponents.”

They want to admit, among other stories, National Enquirer headlines that were “timed perfectly to achieve maximum effect,” including one about Marco Rubio accusing him of abusing drugs.

“All three components of the Trump Tower agreement were made with boosting Trump’s candidacy” and “put their thumbs on the scale,” Steinglass says.

Todd Blanche responds, telling the court that such agreements “happen all the time.”

“It happens in candidacies all over this country,” he said. “The jury can’t learn anything from that that they wouldn’t already know.”

He said that when prosecutors claim that there’s “no risk of unfair prejudice … the opposite is true.”

“This has nothing to do with the charged conduct … It becomes a sideshow,” he said.

Meanwhile...

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

Over at the Nasdaq, in another part of Manhattan, Trump Media shares are plummeting after the company filed to issue additional stock.

Monday 15 April 2024 15:18 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports:

Judge Merchan is reminding those present that the court will “work through lunch” during the first two days of Passover (April 22-23) and the last day (April 30) to accommodate parties to observe before sundown.

Team Trump has also requested that the trial adjourn on Friday 17 May to attend Barron Trump’s high school graduation. Another defence member wants to attend their child’s graduation on 3 June.

Judge Merchan said he “cannot rule at this time” on those requests.

“If we’re running behind schedule, we will not be able to,” he said.

In pictures: Trump in court for historic hush money trial

Monday 15 April 2024 15:13 , Oliver O'Connell

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
 (AP)
(AP)
 (via REUTERS)
(via REUTERS)

Judge denies recusal motion

Monday 15 April 2024 15:11 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from the court:

The judge is reading through the allegations, including the judge’s very general statements about the case to the media, false allegations that the judge’s daughter posted about Trump on social media, and allegations that the case is “impossibly compromised because a family member stands to benefit from this court’s ruling”.

Judge Merchan says that any claim that the allegations are “attenuated is an understatement”.

In other words, nothing about anything Trump alleged proves that the court is in any way compromised.

“For these reasons, the defendant’s second motion for recusal is denied, and the court will not address this matter further.”

Judge Merchan takes seat

Monday 15 April 2024 15:02 , Alex Woodward

Judge Juan Merchan has entered the courtroom and taken his seat on the bench.

“There are a couple of loose ends we need to go over before we can start,” he begins.

First to consider is Donald Trump’s motion to recuse Judge Merchan.

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

Considering he’s sitting in court with his hands crossed on the table in front of him, Donald Trump’s Truth Social account is particularly active this morning.

There have been approximately 15 posts since he entered the courtroom. One can only assume an aide is posting on his behalf.

Monday 15 April 2024 14:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump attends the first day of his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affair (via REUTERS)
Former President Donald Trump attends the first day of his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affair (via REUTERS)

Trump attacks AG Merrick Garland and continues to claim full immunity

Monday 15 April 2024 14:46 , Oliver O'Connell

In another post on Truth Social on his way to court, Donald Trump lashed out at Attorney General Merrick Garland and again claimed he had full immunity in the federal election interference case.

Here’s what the former president wrote:

Attorney General Merrick Garland, Head of Crooked Joe Biden’s Department of “Justice,” in a highly inappropriate, unseemly, and unethical Interview with Fake News CNN, corruptly said that he wants to “speed up” the Witch Hunt against me in Washington, D.C. IF HE WANTED TO RESOLVE THAT HOAX SO QUICKLY, WHY DID GARLAND AND HIS UNDERLINGS WAIT 3 YEARS TO BRING THE SHAM “CASE”? Everyone knows the answer—It is because they know that I did nothing wrong (I also have Full Immunity, because I was investigating the Rigged and Stolen 2020 Presidential Election, which was my duty as President), and are desperately trying to save Crooked Joe by interfering in the 2024 Presidential Election. Make America Great Again!

Trump posts campaign video ahead of court appearance

Monday 15 April 2024 14:43 , Oliver O'Connell

As he headed downtown from Trump Tower this morning, Donald Trump posted a campaign video again claiming that he is some kind of martyr for American freedom.

Monday 15 April 2024 14:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports:

Donald Trump was briefly alone, with his hands crossed in front of him on the desk, staring forward.

He’s now at the centre of the table, with three attorneys. Todd Blanche is to his right, and to his left are Emil Bove and Susan Necheles.

He’s sitting alone again while his attorneys stand and talk to one another. Blanche is whispering in his ear.

Blanche is seated, leaning into Trump’s ear and flipping through papers.

Trump is heading into the courtroom

Monday 15 April 2024 14:33 , Oliver O'Connell

 (Reuters)
(Reuters)

Donald Trump stopped in the hallway outside of the courtroom to rail against the case he faces today.

The former president called it an “assault on America” and yet again falsely accused President Joe Biden of orchestrating the charges.

He then entered the courtroom and took his seat.

Trump arrives at courthouse in Lower Manhattan

Monday 15 April 2024 14:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan criminal court with his legal team on Monday, 15 April 2024 (AP)
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan criminal court with his legal team on Monday, 15 April 2024 (AP)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

ICYMI: Judge rejected another Trump attempt to adjourn trial

Monday 15 April 2024 14:17 , Alex Woodward

Just before the weekend, Judge Juan Merchan rejected another Trump attempt to adjourn on the grounds that trial publicity is “exceptionally prejudicial”.

Judge Merchan wrote: “In this County alone, Defendant has had two civil trials, one in State Court and the other in Federal Court. In those two matters, he was personally responsible for generating much, if not most, of the surrounding publicity with his public statements, which were often made just a few steps outside the courtroom where the proceedings were being conducted and with his unrelenting media posts attacking those he perceived to be responsible for his plight. The situation Defendant finds himself in now is not new to him and at least in part, of his own doing.”

Just as that order was publicly filed on Friday, Trump volunteered to testify:

Trump says he will testify in ‘scam’ hush money trial as judge rejects another delay

Florida classified documents case: Jack Smith urges judge to reject latest delay motion

Monday 15 April 2024 14:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The tireless Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith is urging Judge Aileen Cannon, presiding over the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, to reject Trump’s latest attempt to delay the case against him.

“Each time the Court sets a new deadline in this case and attempts to keep it moving toward trial, the defendants reflexively ask for an adjournment. That must stop,” says Smith in his latest filing.

He’s coming across as increasingly exasperated and who could blame him?

Martha McHardy has more.

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

Monday 15 April 2024 14:12 , Oliver O'Connell

Monday 15 April 2024 14:11 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports:

There are only six reporters allowed inside the courtroom during jury selection, so we won’t see the jurors. Their names and identities are also hidden from the parties and the public.

So here’s what the overflow room looks like: It’s typically used as a courtroom, with a judge’s bench and prosecution and defence tables in the front, facing two rows of church-like benches for us. Ten very large square-shaped ceiling lights hang a few feet from the extremely tall ceilings. Between white walls behind the judge’s bench is a wide wooden panel that reaches the ceiling. At the top read the words IN GOD WE TRUST in brass letters. A handful of New York court officers stand at the front of the room and by the doorway.

We’re not able to get in or out once we’re in, so we can’t jump out to see Donald Trump in the hallway.

We might have to get through some unfinished business and Trump-related arguments before the start of jury selection.

Monday 15 April 2024 14:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump departs Trump Tower for court earlier this morning (Getty Images)
Donald Trump departs Trump Tower for court earlier this morning (Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Media seated at courthouse as jury selection set to begin

Monday 15 April 2024 14:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports from Lower Manhattan:

Hi from inside the overflow room of the 15th floor of New York County Supreme Court, Criminal Term, where I get a view of two large screens broadcasting from the room next door. Cameras there are pointed at Justice Juan Merchan’s bench and the prosecution and defence tables. It’s just about all full in here. There are a few empty seats, including one next to me. Some of us have waited hours, others got lucky.

We’re due to begin jury selection in roughly 40 minutes.

These are the questions for prospective jurors

Eighteen people who live in Manhattan – 12 who will decide the case against the former president, and their six alternates – will be selected, a process that could take several days or weeks.

A note from the judge on the jury questionnaire: “It consists of 42 numbered questions, many of which contain multiple sub-questions, covering all relevant areas of inquiry. Please note, there are no questions asking prospective jurors whom they voted for or intend to vote for, or whom they have made political contributions to. Nor are jurors asked about their specific political party registration, though the answer to that question may easily be gleaned from the responses to the other questions. Counsel is forewarned not to seek to expand the degree of intrusion beyond what is relevant and has already been approved.”

Fox & Friends hosts attack star witness Michael Cohen as they echo Trump’s claims historic hush money trial is ‘political’

Monday 15 April 2024 13:55 , Joe Sommerlad

The co-hosts of Fox News’s flagship breakfast show have been doing their man’s dirty work for him again this morning, you may not be entirely surprised to learn.

Incidentally, can there be a clearer image of hypocrisy in existence than this one?

Here’s more from Kelly Rissman.

Fox & Friends hosts attack star witness Michael Cohen in Trump hush money trial

Watch: Trump departs Trump Tower

Monday 15 April 2024 13:54 , Oliver O'Connell

How Trump’s trial dates and 2024’s election overlap

Monday 15 April 2024 13:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s Ariana Baio to break down Trump’s 2024 calendar of chaos, which grows ever more complicated and exhausting by the day.

How Trump’s trial dates and the 2024 election overlap

Watch live: Donald Trump’s historic ‘hush money’ trial begins in New York

Monday 15 April 2024 13:35 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s a livestream from the courthouse courtesy of IndyTV.

Watch live from New York as Donald Trump’s historic ‘hush money’ trial begins

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

Monday 15 April 2024 13:25 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s another interesting query: does the defendant actually have to be there?

Amelia Neath has this one.

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

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

Monday 15 April 2024 13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Another fundamental issue at the heart of today’s proceedings: what kind of jeopardy is Donald Trump actually facing?

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

Will Trump’s hush money trial be televised?

Monday 15 April 2024 12:55 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s a quick look at one of the key questions of the day: what will we actually be able to see?

Will Trump’s hush money trial be televised?

Anti-Trump protesters begin to assemble outside courthouse

Monday 15 April 2024 12:55 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s the latest from Alex Woodward court-side:

“There are three protesters in the small park across from the courthouse. One sign reads CONVICT TRUMP ALREADY. Another large wooden banner spoofs his campaign logo to read LOSER.”

A small group of anti-Trump protesters gather outside the courthouse in Manhattan (Alex Woodward/The Independent)
A small group of anti-Trump protesters gather outside the courthouse in Manhattan (Alex Woodward/The Independent)

While that’s a noble effort, it rather pales in comparison to the big turnout that greeted Trump’s arraignment on 4 April last year, about which you can read more below.

‘Trump or death’: Far-right figures collide in Manhattan to protest arraignment

Every day brings new drama about Trump’s legal perils. Here’s why today really matters

Monday 15 April 2024 12:35 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s Ariana Baio with what the legal experts have had to say about today’s trial and its significance for the American justice system.

Every day brings Trump legal drama. Here’s why today really matters

The People v Donald Trump: Inside the first-ever criminal trial of an American president

Monday 15 April 2024 12:15 , Joe Sommerlad

In the weeks after he descended his beloved golden escalator from Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue to announce his presidential campaign, Donald Trump would arrange a scheme to bury compromising stories of his affairs to clear his path to the White House.

From that very same building, then-candidate Trump allegedly orchestrated a plan to buy up damaging stories that threatened his candidacy, only to ensure they would never be published, and then reimbursed his attorney who paid off an adult film star whose story of an affair with the Republican nominee for the presidency threatened to derail his campaign.

Those reimbursements were allegedly falsified as business expenses – the crime at the centre of an alleged plot to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, one that will come into sharp relief during a weeks-long criminal trial in Manhattan that begins on 15 April.

The People of the State of New York v Donald J Trump is the first-ever criminal trial against an American president, falling in the middle of another election year, in a case that describes an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the election that launched him into political domination.

Here’s Alex Woodward to put the magnitude of it all in context for us.

The People v Trump: Inside the first-ever criminal trial of an American president

Truth Social: Trump calls for case against him to be dropped and again complains about non-existent Democratic conspiracy

Monday 15 April 2024 12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump is out of bed and “truthing” for all he’s worth: citing imaginary legal scholars as he calls for today’s trial to be scrapped and alleging without any evidence at all that “Radical Left Democrats” have brought the cases against him to tie him up in court and eat up his cash to keep him off the campaign trail.

More surprisingly, he’s also been engaging in a little political satire.

Oh good. There’s more!

Here’s the latest on his brutal case of the Mondays.

Trump unleashes Truth Social rant as he wakes to historic first day of criminal trial

Who is Juan Merchan, the judge presiding over Trump’s hush money case?

Monday 15 April 2024 11:50 , Joe Sommerlad

Rachel Sharp and Io Dodds have this look at Judge Juan Merchan, the justice who has weathered a blizzard of spurious motions and personal attacks on his daughter to make sure today’s hearing happens on time.

Juan Merchan: Who is the New York Supreme Court judge presiding over Trump’s case?

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

Monday 15 April 2024 11:35 , Joe Sommerlad

Alex Woodward offers this profile of the New York prosecutor hoping to bring the former president to book.

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

The scene from outside the court

Monday 15 April 2024 11:29 , Joe Sommerlad

The intrepid Alex Woodward is outside the Manhattan courtroom for us bright an early this morning and almost certainly hanging on to his coffee for dear life.

He explains that only six reporters are allowed inside the court itself during jury selection but there are 114 or so seats inside an overflow room, which leaves everyone else scrambling for access to one of those on a first come, first served basis.

Some outlets have paid people to hold a spot for them overnight, with the court yet to open for a few more hours.

He writes: “Sunrise at the New York County Superior Court, Criminal Term. Roughly 40 people are now in line, with about two hours to go before the doors open, after which everyone must pass through two security checks before reaching the 15th floor courtrooms.

“The small park across the street from the court’s front facade is surrounded by barricades. One year ago, when Donald Trump was arraigned in his first criminal case, media outnumbered the protesters and counterprotesters staged inside the park.

“Today, so far, it’s quiet, with only the sounds of birds chirping, reporter chatter and the occasional car honk in the distance.”

The scene outside the Manhattan courtroom ahead of Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial (Alex Woodward/The Independent)
The scene outside the Manhattan courtroom ahead of Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial (Alex Woodward/The Independent)

The porn star, doorman and disgraced lawyer turned star witness: Who’s who in Trump’s hush money case?

Monday 15 April 2024 10:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Today’s historic trial may ultimately last for up to two months and feature testimony from several key players from Trump’s past.

Among them is former publisher of The National Enquirer David Pecker who agreed to help the then-presidential candidate suppress stories, adult film star Stormy Daniels whose alleged affair is central to the case – and a former doorman of Trump Tower who spilled what he claimed to be one of the former president’s biggest secrets.

Here’s a timely look at the cast list from Ariana Baio.

Key players in Trump’s hush money trial

Inside the Stormy Daniels hush money case that led to Trump’s arrest

Monday 15 April 2024 10:15 , Joe Sommerlad

With the beginning of Trump’s trial now just a few hours away, it’s worth looking back at the hush money case that started this whole thing: the Stormy Daniels affair.

Trump was only indicted for the scheme in 2023 but news of his payments to the porn star was first reported by The Wall Street Journal way back in 2018.

Here’s John Bowden on how we finally got here.

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

What will happen at today’s jury selection in Trump’s Manhattan trial?

Monday 15 April 2024 09:45 , Joe Sommerlad

The first criminal trial of a former US president will begin with jury selection this very morning at 10am New York time.

Here’s more from Gustaf Kilander about how that opening process is likely to play out.

Why jury selection in Trump’s hush money trial will be a daunting task

Truth Social: Trump lashes out on eve of historic hush money trial

Monday 15 April 2024 09:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Here are a few of Trump’s latest grievance posts on his chosen platform:

You’ll be pleased to hear his legal plight has not stopped him from hawking Bibles with Christian country music star Lee Greenwood.

Trump blames Biden for his criminal trials as jury selection begins today

Monday 15 April 2024 08:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has lashed out at his successor 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.

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 at 10am.

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

Trump continues to baselessly assert that he is the victim of a Democratic-led conspiracy against him, despite the fact that his criminal prosecutions were recommended by grand juries of members of the public.

His federal cases are overseen by an independent special counsel under the Department of Justice.

That hasn’t stopped the defendat from accusing his rival of “lawfare” against him.

Martha McHardy and Alex Woodward report.

Trump posts video blaming Biden for criminal trials

Trump again makes false claims about the execution of babies

Monday 15 April 2024 07:02 , John Bowden

Donald Trump has again made false claims about Democrats wanting “abortion up to the moment of birth, and even execution of babies” while he weighs in on the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion that reinstated “an inappropriate Law from 1864”.

Here’s what the former president wrote:

The Supreme Court in Arizona went too far on their Abortion Ruling, enacting and approving an inappropriate Law from 1864. So now the Governor and the Arizona Legislature must use HEART, COMMON SENSE, and ACT IMMEDIATELY, to remedy what has happened. Remember, it is now up to the States and the Good Will of those that represent THE PEOPLE. We must ideally have the three Exceptions for Rape, Incest, and Life of the Mother. This is important! Democrats are the EXTREMISTS - They support Abortion up to the moment of birth, and even execution of Babies, in some cases, after birth. This should not be. Arizona Legislature, please act as fast as possible!

Here’s how Mr Trump began his week talking about abortion:

Trump says he’d leave abortion rights to states in Truth Social video

Report: Trump couldn’t pardon Jan 6 rioters even if he wins in November

Monday 15 April 2024 04:02 , John Bowden

Andrew Feinberg reports:

Former president Donald Trump has promised to pardon supporters of his who have been charged, convicted, and in some cases imprisoned for crimes committed during the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

But according to a new report from anti-authoritarianism group Protect Democracy, he may not actually have that power even if he is returned to the White House after this year’s election.

The report, titled Checking the Pardon Power: Constitutional Limitations & Options for Preventing Abuse, lays out a number of circumstances in which a presidential pardon would not be valid because it would not be a legitimate use of the president’s authority to grant reprieves for “offenses against the United States”.

Continue reading...

Trump couldn’t pardon Jan 6 rioters even if he wins in November, suggests new report

Georgia Lt Gov Burt Jones’s election interference case to be decided by special prosecutor

Monday 15 April 2024 03:02 , John Bowden

A special prosecutor has been assigned to look into whether Georgia Lt Gov Burt Jones should face criminal charges over efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state.

The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia announced Thursday that its executive director, Pete Skandalakis, will handle the matter after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis was barred from prosecuting Jones as part of her election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others.

Jones was one of 16 state Republicans who signed a certificate stating that Mr Trump had won Georgia and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors even though Democrat Joe Biden had been declared the winner in the state. As a state senator in the wake of the election, he also sought a special session of Georgia’s Legislature aimed at overturning Biden’s narrow win in the state.

Continue reading...

Special prosecutor to decide if Georgia Lt Gov will face election subversion charges

Trump blames Biden for his criminal trials as jury selection begins tomorrow

Monday 15 April 2024 02:02 , John Bowden

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. his string of criminal trials.

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.

Mr Trump continues to baselessly assert that he is the victim of a Democratic-led conspiracy against him, despite the fact that his criminal prosecutions were recommended by grand juries of members of the public. His federal cases are overseen by an independent special counsel under the US Department of Justice.

That hasn’t stopped Mr Trump from accusing his rival of “lawfare” against him.

Martha McHardy and Alex Woodward report:

Trump posts video blaming Biden for criminal trials

New biopic focuses on Trump’s mentoring by mob lawyer Roy Cohn

Monday 15 April 2024 01:02 , John Bowden

Donald Trump and his mentor Roy Cohn — or at least fictionalised versions of them — are heading to Cannes.

A new film based on the former president’s life in the 1970s and 1980s will premier at the French film festival this year, with Sebastian Stan starring as Mr Trump, while Succession’s Jeremy Strong will play lawyer and prosecutor Roy Cohn.

The film, named The Apprentice, will explore Mr Trump’s career as an aspiring real estate tycoon in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s and will delve into his relationship with Roy Cohn, the New York City prosecutor who is thought to have had a considerable influence on his presidency.

Martha McHardy has the details:

Trump’s mentoring by mob lawyer Roy Cohn at centre of new biopic to show at Cannes

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer hammers Trump over abortion: ‘He’s lied over and over again’

Monday 15 April 2024 00:02 , John Bowden

One of the Democratic Party’s rising stars was on Donald Trump’s case over what she said were the “lies” the former president told the American people for years about his stance on reproductive rights.

The presumed nominee of the Republican Party to take on President Joe Biden in 2024, Mr Trump released a video last Monday outlining his (current) stance on the issue of abortion rights.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined Sunday’s Meet The Press on NBC and responded to moderator Kristen Welker’s assertion that Mr Trump was “straddling the line” on the issue.

Read more:

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer hammers Trump over abortion ‘lies’

Inside the Stormy Daniels hush money case that led to Trump’s arrest

Sunday 14 April 2024 23:00 , John Bowden

With the beginning of Mr Trump’s trial now just hours away, it’s worth looking back at the hush money case that started this whole thing: the Stormy Daniels affair.

Mr Trump was only indicted for the scheme in 2023, but news of his payments to the porn star was first reported by The Wall Street Journal way back in 2018.

Read more from The Independent about how we finally got here:

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

What will happen at tomorrow’s jury selection in Trump’s Manhattan trial?

Sunday 14 April 2024 22:14 , John Bowden

The first criminal trial of a former US president will begin with jury selection on Monday.

The hush money case surrounds 34 charges of business fraud following allegations that Donald Trump instructed staff that hush money payments be logged as legal expenses.

Steve Duffy at Trial Behavior Consulting spoke to The Independent’s Gustaf Kilander about the likely demographics of the jury and the selection process itself.

Read more:

Why jury selection in Trump’s hush money trial will be a daunting task

Trump says Iran attack on Israel ‘would never have happened if I were president’

Sunday 14 April 2024 21:45 , John Bowden

Donald Trump weighed in on Iran’s airstrike against Israel on Saturday evening.

“ISRAEL IS UNDER ATTACK,” the former president said on his social media platform, Truth Social. “This should never have been allowed to happen - This would NEVER have happened if I were President!”

Mr Trump’s comments come after the Israeli Defense Forces announced Iran had launched dozens of drones against Israel, set to arrive Saturday evening. President Joe Biden has since pledged his support for Israel.

Katie Hawkinson has more from The Independent’s DC bureau.

Trump says Iran attack on Israel ‘would never have happened if I were president’

Trump hush money trial to begin Monday morning

Sunday 14 April 2024 20:01 , John Bowden

The word “unprecedented” gets thrown around a lot, but Monday will truly be one of those “unprecedented” days in American history.

The trial of Donald Trump, the first criminal prosecution of a US president, will begin in Manhattan on Monday morning at 10am, when the jury selection process begins. The former president lost three last-minute bids to delay his trial over the past few weeks, and will now go down as the first commander-in-chief to defend himself on felony charges of illegally falsifying business records to cover up payments to a porn star.

It’s a moment of historical significance, and one that has wholly consumed Mr Trump’s attention: he posted a lengthy statement on Truth Social criticising the judge in the case, Juan Mercham, on Sunday morning as the rest of social media was consumed by news of a massive Iranian strike against Israel.

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website