Trump decries ‘political persecution’ as first criminal trial kicks off in NY

Former President Trump decried the “political persecution” targeting him when he arrived at a Manhattan courthouse on Monday for the start of his hush money trial.

“This is an assault on America, nothing like this has ever happened before,” he told reporters as he prepared to enter the courtroom.

“This is a political persecution. This is a persecution like never before,” he added. “This is an attack on a political opponent.”

Hundreds of New Yorkers will assemble at the courthouse today as the jury selection is set to begin. The presiding judge is expected to ask more than 40 questions to narrow down the jury pool and limit bias against the former president. At the end of the process, which could take a week or more, there will be twelve jurors and a few alternates.

Last year, Trump was charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with 34 counts of falsifying business documents related to a reimbursement to his lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The lawyer, Trump’s former fixer, alleges he made payments to former adult film actress Stormy Daniels under a nondisclosure agreement to prevent her from publicizing allegations she had an affair with Trump before the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s legal team has attempted to delay the trial several times with its most recent attempt rejected by the New York appeals court last week. The Trump team wanted a delay in the trial until an appeals panel could rule on the gag order the judge placed on the former president.

Trump previously called Bragg’s prosecution a “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” remaining defiant in the face of the allegations.

Trump has also raised conflict of interest concerns about Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the case. Merchan has made small dollar donations to Democratic politicians in the past and his daughter is a Democratic consultant and former Kamala Harris campaign staffer, Just the News reported earlier this month.

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