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Hush Money Trial Judge Again Denies Showing Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape To Jurors

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The judge overseeing the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump reaffirmed his ruling to exclude jurors from seeing footage from the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.

Judge Juan Merchan stated to the court, “I remain convinced at this moment… that the tape should not come in.”

Before the 2016 election, a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced, which revealed Trump talking to host Billy Bush about his star power and the impact it had on women.

In March, Merchan stated that “it is not necessary that the tape itself be introduced into evidence or that it be played for the jury.” Merchan had previously denied that the prosecution could show the tape to the jurors.

Joshua Steinglass, the prosecutor, pushed back on Monday to present the video’s supporting documentation, claiming that it is “living proof that the defendant wasn’t all talk” and a “sexual assault admission.”

“That is more than just comments of a sexual nature,” Steinglass said, adding that when the video surfaced in 2016, it threw Trump’s presidential campaign into a “tailspin.”

Trump’s lawyer argued that the video was too explicit and biased to show to the jury.

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“The people will get everything they need to prove the charges in this case from what your honor has already ruled,” Blanche said.

Merchan stated that jurors could not see the video, but prosecutors could play Trump’s exact words from the recording along with an email about it.

Trump is on trial in New York City on felony charges regarding a 2016 payment of hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

In April of last year, Trump entered a not guilty plea to a 34-count indictment that accused him of fabricating business records concerning a hush money payment to Daniels that his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to her in an attempt to improve his chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.

With a 6-8 week trial duration anticipated overall, jury selection may take up to two weeks.

“After seating the seventh juror in the case, Judge Juan Merchan reiterated his hope that opening statements could commence Monday if the remaining jurors are selected by then,” ABC News reported.

“The judge then concluded the proceedings for the day. Court will be in recess on Wednesday, and jury selection will resume Thursday with the fresh batch of 96 prospective jurors.¬†With seven jurors now seated, 11 more jurors — six of them alternates — remain to be chosen,” the outlet added.

Until then, “put the case out of your mind,” Merchan told the seventh juror. “Don’t think about it, don’t talk about it.”

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Six jurors have been selected to serve in the criminal trial of Donald Trump for hush money. They represent a diverse cross-section of New York City, as per their biographical information. For security reasons, their identities are being kept private. Here is a brief sketch of each juror.

ABC News noted:

Juror No. 1 is a middle-aged salesman who immigrated to the United States from Ireland. He lives in West Harlem and said he normally gets his news from the New York Times, Daily Mail, Fox News and MSNBC. In his spare time, he said he enjoys doing “anything outdoorsy.”

Juror No. 2 works as an oncology nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering. She lives with her fiancé and enjoys taking her dog for walks in the park. She said she gets her news from The New York Times, CNN, Google, and Facebook.

Juror 3 is a corporate attorney who moved to New York from Oregon five years ago. He has worked at two major white-shoe law firms in New York. He said he normally gets his news from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Google. In his spare time, he said he enjoys hiking and running.

Juror No. 4 said he finds the former president to be “fascinating and mysterious.” Originally from Puerto Rico, he has lived in the Lower East Side for the last 40 years. He is a self-employed IT consultant who attended one year of college and has been “married for a long time.” He normally gets his news from the Daily News, The New York Times, Google.

Juror No. 5 was the only potential juror who raised her hand when lawyers asked if they had ever heard of Trump’s other criminal cases. A life-long New Yorker, she currently works as an ELA teacher in a charter school and lives in Harlem. She normally gets her news from Google and TikTok but said that she “doesn’t really care for the news.”

Juror No. 6 is a software engineer who works for the Walt Disney Company, which is the parent company of ABC News. She grew up in New York City and lives in Chelsea with three roommates. She said she gets her news from The New York Times and TikTok. In her spare time, she said she enjoys plays, restaurants, dancing, and watching TV.

Trump, who denies any wrongdoing in the New York criminal case, has repeatedly criticized it as a politically motivated witch hunt.

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