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Trump Legal News: The Trial, Day 2

When we chose "The Trial" as the headline here, we were even more on point than we realized. Not only does the judge in that song summarily find the defendant guilty, because the evidence is so overwhelming but, at the end, as reader A.M. in Brookhaven, PA, reminded us, an order is given to "tear down the wall." (Z) knows that song well, having heard it hundreds of times (the live version, featuring Tim Curry, Albert Finney and Thomas Dolby, is highly recommended), and can't believe he did not think of it.

In any case, the second day of the trial is in the books. Here are the most interesting storylines:

  1. Baby It's You: We apparently now have 7/18ths of the jurors needed for the trial to commence (12 regular jurors and 6 alternates). This does not seem to comport with the process that was described by news media on Monday (that 36 people would make the first cut, and 18 of those would make the second cut), but both sides have used six of their ten challenges and the seven folks chosen yesterday were sworn in and told to be prepared to return Monday, so it would seem the members of this septet are the real McCoy.

  2. Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey: The New York Times has laid hands on the questionnaire that is being used to screen the jurors. It's seven pages and 42 questions. Thanks to the lawyers' questioning, which is guided by the would-be jurors' responses, the press has been able to put together semi-bios on the seven jurors who have been impaneled. For example, the first juror:
    A man who is originally from Ireland and now lives in West Harlem. He works in sales and gets his news from The New York Times, the Daily Mail, Fox News and MSNBC. He will serve as the foreperson.
    Hm, an Irish immigrant. Undoubtedly, the part-Scottish xenophobe will be thrilled to be judged by such a person.

  3. I'm So Tired: On the first day of the trial, there was some question as to whether Trump was really falling asleep, partly because the press corps couldn't see him all that well, and partly because most of them weren't looking for it. Yesterday, by contrast, everyone was watching, and there was a consensus that the former president did indeed nod off multiple times. If there ARE presidential debates, and if Trump dares make any reference to Joe Biden being sleepy or low-energy, the President now has a built-in comeback: "Well, at least I never fell asleep while I was on trial."

  4. It Won't Be Long: DA Alvin Bragg filed a motion proposing that if Trump violates his gag order again, he should be warned that he could be jailed for 30 days. That is far from actually happening, but if it did, think of the implications. First, Trump would be completely unable to campaign for a month. Second, if he can't stay awake after a night's rest in his luxurious Trump Tower bed, then what's going to happen when he's sleeping on a prison cot? Third, his beauty routine would be somewhere between difficult and impossible to carry out while jailed. What would his hair and his "tan" look like after 30 days in the clink?

  5. Not A Second Time: At one point, Trump grimaced and gestured in a way that seemed to be directed at one of the would-be jurors. Judge Juan Merchan was having none of that, and told Trump and his lawyers: "I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom. I want to make that crystal clear." Plainly, Merchan runs a tight ship. A Merchan ship, if you will.

  6. I Me Mine: About halfway through the day, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) showed up and said a few words about how important the trial is and how tight the security is. And then he... left, because he actually has zero connection to any of this. He was just trying to score some free publicity.

  7. I Forgot To Remember To Forget: It took only until the end of the second day for Trump to remind everyone why he's a nightmare client. As is his custom, once court was dismissed for the day, he held an impromptu press conference where he railed against anything and everything. And during that, he decreed: "I was paying a lawyer and marked it down as a legal expense. Some accountant, I didn't know, marked it down as a legal expense. That's exactly what it was... So check it out. It's called legal expense." The general consensus is that the toughest part of Bragg's case (and we wrote about this last week) is proving that Trump knew the expense had been improperly recorded. Well, he effectively just admitted that element of the case. More than one legal analyst suggested yesterday that footage of the Trump press conference could end up being played for the jury.

That's the news from Day 2. Today is a day off, and then they'll be back at it tomorrow. (Z)

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