First seven jurors are chosen for Trump's hush money criminal trial

Throughout Tuesday morning at least eight jurors were excused on a number of grounds, ITV News US Correspondent Dan Rivers reports

The first seven jurors for Donald Trump's hush money trial were chosen after lawyers grilled each potential person individually throughout Tuesday.

Throughout the morning at least eight jurors were excused on a number of grounds, including concerns over their impartiality and political affiliation.

In the US, lawyers are able to select members of the jury, and questioned people in the pool about about their social media posts, political views and personal lives to decide whether they can sit in fair judgment of the former president.

As the historic trial entered the second day, Judge Juan Merchan requested that prospective jurors raise concerns about their ability to serve before filling out a questionnaire that will be used to determine their validity.

One said it was “probably going to be tough" to be impartial. He acknowledged he was from Texas and had lots of Republican friends.

A few potential jurors said they didn’t think they could be fair and impartial – including one woman who said she was previously subscribed to anti-Trump newsletters.

Eighteen potential jurors made it through the questionnaire phase in which they were questioned by the district attorney’s office and Trump’s lawyers.

Now, prosecutors and Trump’s defence team will each be able to use 10 peremptory strikes to remove a juror from the pool - no questions asked. Both sides have 10 strikes to use throughout the entire jury process.

Why is Trump in court?

Trump has faced three civil trials in New York since he left the White House, but this is the first time he faces possible jail time.

The former president is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, stemming from reimbursements made to his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen for hush money payments he made before the 2016 election to an adult film star alleging an affair with Trump.

The former president has pleaded not guilty and denied the affair with Stormy Daniels.

Each count represents a separate instance of the alleged misconduct, pointing to different business records associated with a series of repayments to Cohen that were allegedly falsified to conceal his criminal conduct.

The maximum penalty for each count is four years in state prison. However, the judge has discretion on how long any sentence should be and whether to allow any sentences to be served consecutively.

What has President Joe Biden said?

According to the White House, President Biden has spent little time paying attention to the second day the trial.

“The president is going to Pennsylvania today and he’s going to do a three-stop tour,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as Biden flew to Scranton, Pennsylvania.

“He’s going to focus on how he’s continuing to help the American people and you’ll hear directly from him today. That’s his focus. His focus in on the American people.”

Trump’s legal problems, including the current trial, are at the centre of the closely contested presidential race against Biden.

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