Ex-US President Donald Trump to face historic criminal trial; New Yorkers await ‘justice’

Trump has repeatedly claimed that he will be unable to get a fair trial in New York

By AFP

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Reuters File Photo
Reuters File Photo

Published: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 8:20 AM

Last updated: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 10:57 AM

Supporters of Donald Trump are scarce in New York, although he made his name and fortune in the city. The former president is set to face a historic trial on Monday.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that he will be unable to get a fair trial in New York which leans Democratic in local and national elections, and because of the intense media scrutiny on his cases.


Comic Stephen Colbert, who shoots his late night TV show in New York, joked this week that Trump was seeking "an impartial jury who knew nothing about the events in America over the last nine years."

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Trump's past judicial appearances in New York have sparked spirited protests. Pro-Trump supporters and demonstrators holding placards with the phrase "lock him up!" have faced off, separated by armed police.

New York's police department has promised a major deployment to ensure the trial passes off safely. The force's head of intelligence John Hart called it a "major challenge."

"New Yorkers are tough and we are not scared," said dog trainer Lee Cahill-Trebing, 36, on the prospect of Trump backers seeking to intimidate those opposed to the former president.

"We will not be bullied out of taking him out of power or upholding the law. So yeah, bring it," he added.

If convicted, Trump faces up to four years in jail on each of the 34 counts of falsifying business records.

He is accused over an alleged scheme to cover up an alleged sexual encounter with porn star Stormy Daniels so as not to doom his 2016 election.

The judge in the case, Juan Merchan, will begin to assemble a jury of 12 New Yorkers, with both the prosecution and defense able to challenge the panelists on impartiality grounds.

But not all New Yorkers are excited about the prospect of the former president, who made his name as a property developer and reality TV star in the city, potentially being jailed.

"I don't really think he should go to prison," said retiree Porter Bell, 83. "I think right now this country is just too divided."

Trump has previously faced a civil fraud trial in which he was penalised with an amount of $355 million, which he is appealing. He has also faced a sex assault defamation case in which the jury ordered him to pay $83 million.

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