Donald Trump dozes off at his own trial

Donald Trump dozes off at his own trial
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/JEENAH MOON / POOL

4:13 PM EDT, April 16, 2024

In a historic case unfolding in the United States, former President Donald Trump faces legal proceedings over allegations of concealing payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 elections. According to reports by CNN, Trump appeared to have fallen asleep several times during the hearing.

The trial began on Monday and marked the first time Donald Trump had been a defendant in a criminal case. "He looked like he was nodding off and at one point in a pretty true tell that he was falling asleep, his head nodded down, and then he sort of jolted back up at one point," American journalist Susanne Craig reported from the courtroom on MSNBC.

Before the trial formally commenced, Trump arrived at the Manhattan courthouse after posting a series of messages on his social media accounts, denouncing the trial as "rigged" and "unconstitutional". Standing before the media, he reiterated his earlier statements, declaring that his trial is a political persecution and that, in his opinion, it's an attack on America. Trump also stated that President Biden was "very much" involved in orchestrating the case against him.

Trump dissatisfied with the judge

Expressing his frustration, Trump criticized what he described as an "unconstitutional" gag order imposed following Trump's critical remarks about these individuals. The order prevented him from discussing the judge, his family, and the case's witnesses.

His legal team attempted to have Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over the case, recuse himself, but the motion was quickly denied. The case involves 34 charges brought against Trump last year by New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, accusing him of mislabeling campaign expenses as legal fees for silencing Daniels, who received $130,000 through Trump's then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, just before the election.

Unprecedented trial

This trial is unprecedented, the first criminal trial against a former U.S. president. It starts with selecting 18 jurors—12 primary and 6 alternates—from more than 500 New Yorkers summoned for jury duty. Judge Merchan is set to vet the jurors with questions about their organizational ties, protest participation, and employment in Trump-related companies to ensure their impartiality.

Trump's attorneys argue that the overwhelming number of Democratic voters in New York makes a fair trial in Manhattan impossible. As a result, they are seeking to move the trial to another location.

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