Criminal case against Trump begins


Former Pres. Donald Trump appeared stiff on Monday during his historic appearance at a court in New York where he will face a criminal trial.

The 77-year-old Trump is the first former US president to be tried criminally.

RNews previously reported he is accused of falsifying some of his business records to cover up an alleged sexual relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential election campaign.

The beleaguered Republican presidential candidate also had to pay $175 million (about R3 billion) as a fine in his New York civil fraud case earlier this month to prevent his assets from being seized and his business empire from collapsing.

Trump’s criminal case is expected to last two months and will focus on the payments allegedly made to Daniels. Trump allegedly covered up the payments, which were made to his former lawyer and intermediary Michael Cohen. Those payments were reportedly used to pay Daniels to keep quiet about the alleged sex acts in the final weeks of the 2016 election campaign.

A jury indicted Trump last March on 34 counts of falsifying business records.

During his first appearance, Trump, wearing his signature red tie, listened intently to Judge Juan Merhcan.

He denied the allegations against him.

Monday’s proceedings began with the selection of jurors. Almost 100 prospective candidates were present at the court to participate in the selection process. Of these, about 50 indicated they would not be able to give Trump a free and fair trial. Another candidate, a woman, simply walked out after saying “I just can’t do it”.

The entire process can take up to two weeks before a final bench of jurors is selected.

Proceedings are expected to resume on Tuesday to assemble a final panel.

Outside court, Trump insisted he would not receive a fair trial.

“This case should never have been filed. This is an attack on America,” he said.

“This is an attack on a political opponent,” he added.