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Trump Legal News: The Trial

In the Pink Floyd song of that name, the judge finds the defendant guilty without even bothering with the jury, because the evidence is "incontrovertible." If you're reading, Judge Juan Merchan, it's an interesting thought. Could save everyone a lot of time.

For now, however, they are going to proceed as if it's a normal trial. And here are the 10 most interesting storylines from the first day, in our view:

  1. March Of The Meanies: Whenever Trump appears in court, it's something of a circus outside. Yesterday, however, the first time that a U.S. president had ever gone on trial to face criminal charges, the circus was... very small. There were only a few dozen MAGA types, despite a well-promoted MAGA rally and the presence of celebrity (?) MAGA-woman Laura Loomer. There were even fewer counter-MAGA protesters. Both groups were greatly outnumbered by the media that showed up to cover the trial. Said Newsmax personality/MAGA fanatic/U.S. Senate candidate Cara Castronuova (R): "I just think that people are kind of just tired of these trials..."

  2. Tell Me What You See: It being the first day of a trial, some amount of time was spent, naturally, on figuring out what evidence would be allowed. The prosecution scored what is apparently a big win, with the ruling that anti-Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stories from the National Enquirer would be allowed, because they were run by then-publisher David Pecker at the instigation of the Trump campaign, and speak to a pattern of behavior. Playboy model/Trump paramour Karen McDougal will also be allowed to testify, even though the payment made to her is not part of the criminal case.

  3. You Can't Do That: On the other hand, Merchan also excluded some evidence, including the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Although the prosecution will be allowed to quote from the interview, the Judge said the tape itself is too prejudicial. Similarly, E. Jean Carroll's deposition from her defamation suit against Trump is verboten. Boy howdy, this man has a long trail of documented sexual misconduct.

  4. I'm Looking Through You: As we've noted previously, Trump is required to be in court unless excused by the judge. Trump doesn't particularly want to be there, and asked for a bunch of days off for various purposes, such as attending the Supreme Court hearing about presidential immunity. Merchan wasn't buying it, and gave New York's "Parker Warnings" to Trump, basically an advisory that if Trump somehow doesn't make it to court when he's required to be there, he'll be arrested and jailed.

  5. Bad Boy: Also as part of the Parker Warnings, Merchan warned Trump he better behave in court, or it will also be a one-way ticket to the slammer: "If you disrupt the proceedings in any way, the law permits the court to exclude you from the courtroom. Do you understand?" Trump barely whispered the "yes" of a defeated man.

  6. Money (That's What I Want): Continuing on the theme of jail time, the prosecution asked for Trump to be fined $3,000 for violating the Court's gag orders ($1,000/each for three offenses) and to be warned that future violations will land the former president in a holding cell. Merchan will rule on this question next week.

  7. Crying, Waiting, Hoping: He wouldn't be Donald Trump if he didn't find something to lie about, although even he is not so careless as to perjure himself on the very first day of a criminal trial. So, the lie was posted to social media; Trump whined that "I can't go to my son's graduation" because Merchan won't let him. That's the high school graduation of Barron Trump that The Donald is referring to, and the truth is that the judge has not yet ruled on the request, as yet.

  8. I Call Your Name: It's not going to be easy to find a jury for this trial, for obvious reasons. The first group of 96 was brought into the courtroom yesterday, and about half were dismissed because they said they could not be impartial, while another half-dozen or so were dismissed because they have personal conflicts that cannot accommodate the trial's schedule. That left 34, and of those, only 9 have thus far "made the cut" for the next round of scrutiny. In the end, the Judge wants roughly 36 "possible" jurors, from which a panel of 12 regular jurors and 6 alternates will be selected. Finding 9 of 36 means the Court is just one-quarter of the way to round two. It's probable that it will take until the middle of next week to seat the jury.

  9. I'm Only Sleeping: The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reported that, on numerous occasions, Trump appeared to be nodding off in the courtroom. Not a great look for someone who has slurred his opponent as "Sleepy Joe."

  10. I Don't Want To Spoil The Party: Speaking of Sleepy Joe, the White House does not want to touch this story with a 10-foot pole. When White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked for comment on the day's proceedings, she said that Biden would probably get an update at some point, but that he was very busy meeting with the prime ministers of Iraq and the Czech Republic. Just in case you forgot who is president, and who is not.

And so it begins. And now we wait to see what Day 2 brings. (Z)

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