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Trump Trial to End Early Due to Emergency Medical Situation

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


Judge Juan Merchan took the bench on Monday morning at approximately 9:30 in the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump.

The prosecution’s opening statement in Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan was scheduled to last nearly twice as long as the defense’s, according to NBC News, which was providing live updates on the trial throughout the morning. The trial was expected to last a little over an hour.

The last juror to be impaneled last week, alternate juror number six, had a dental “emergency” and had made an appointment for 3:00 this afternoon.

That appointment was pushed forward to 1:20, though, so Merchan announced that the court would adjourn at 12:30 PM so she could arrive at her appointment on time.

“An alternate juror has an emergency dental appointment this afternoon. Tomorrow, Judge Merchan plans to end at 2 p.m. for the Passover holiday. Most jurors looked straight ahead as they passed the defense table on the way out of the courtroom,” the Associated Press reported.

The court was also supposed to meet in brief today, Tuesday, to conclude at 2:00 p.m. in honor of Passover.

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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.

In addition to denying the meeting with Daniels, Trump claimed the payment was for personal use and had nothing to do with the campaign.

Federal investigators subpoenaed Pecker and American Media in April 2018, and the companies gave prosecutors information regarding Cohen’s payment to Daniels. Afterward, Pecker received immunity in return for testifying about Trump’s awareness of the payment.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass announced that Pecker would also testify about running stories in the tabloid to support Trump’s 2016 campaign.

According to a person familiar with the situation, Pecker testified before the Manhattan grand jury that looked into Trump at least twice, in January and March of 2023.

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In 2018, Cohen entered a guilty plea to federal charges related to the payoff and was sentenced to prison for a variety of offenses, including violations of campaign finance laws.

In 2018, American Media Inc. (AMI), the company that published the National Enquirer at the time, admitted to giving former Playboy magazine model Karen McDougal $150,000 to keep her quiet about an alleged relationship with Trump before the 2016 election.

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

An attorney and spokeswoman for Trump attacked the New York justice system and those involved in prosecuting Trump in a so-called “hush money” case.

Alina Habba alleged that there is a “coordinated effort” between officials in the Democratic super-majority state and the Biden administration to legally hamstring the current president’s political rival.

Just after midnight Monday morning, Trump expressed frustration with the case against him.

“The Corrupt Soros Funded District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, who has totally lost control of Violent Crime in New York, says that the payment of money to a lawyer, for legal services rendered, should not be referred to in a Ledger as LEGAL EXPENSE,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “What other term would be more appropriate???”

“Believe it or not, this is the pretext under which I was Indicted, and that Legal Scholars and Experts CANNOT BELIEVE,” he added (all emphasis original).

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