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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

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NEW YORK — The historic hush-money trial of Donald Trump began Monday, with scores of prospective jurors crammed into a courtroom where the former president will face allegations that he fabricated business records to suppress revelations about his sex life.

The first criminal prosecution of any former US president will take place as Trump seeks to recover the White House, producing a fascinating split-screen spectacle in which the probable Republican nominee spends his days as a criminal defendant while also campaigning for government. Over the last year, he has combined both roles by portraying himself to supporters on the campaign road and social media as the object of politically motivated prosecutions intended to destroy his candidacy.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

After a norm-breaking presidency shadowed by years of investigations, Trump’s trial is a legal reckoning. Four indictments accuse him of crimes ranging from hoarding confidential data to attempting to overthrow an election. However, the political stakes are less obvious because a conviction would not prevent him from becoming president, and the charges, in this case, reach back years and are viewed as less serious than the conduct behind the other three indictments.

The day began with hours of pretrial arguments, including potential penalties for Trump before jury selection began Monday afternoon. The first members of the jury pool, 96 in total, were summoned to the courtroom, where the parties would select who among them would be chosen to decide the legal fate of the former, and possibly future, American president.

Trump craned his neck to glance back at the pool, talking to his lawyer as they entered the jury box.

“You are about to stand trial by jury. Judge Juan Merchan told the jurors that the jury trial system is one of the pillars of our legal system. “The name of this case is the People of the State of New York vs. Donald Trump.”

Trump’s notoriety would make selecting 12 jurors and six alternates a near-herculean task in any year, but it’s likely to be especially difficult now, as the election takes place in the heavily Democratic city where Trump grew up and rose to celebrity status decades before winning the presidency.

Merchan has said that the question is “whether the prospective juror can assure us that they will set aside any personal feelings or biases and render a decision that is based on the evidence and the law.”

Regardless of the verdict, Trump is determined to gain from the proceedings, portraying the case and his other indictments as a broad “weaponization of law enforcement” by Democratic prosecutors and authorities. He claims they are staging bogus allegations to derail his presidential campaign. He’s been criticizing judges and prosecutors for years, a pattern of attacks that persisted until Monday, when he entered court and declared, “This is political persecution.” “This is a new kind of persecution.”

Earlier Monday, the judge dismissed a defense request to disqualify himself from the case after Trump’s lawyers alleged a conflict of interest. He also stated that the prosecution could not show the jury the 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump was caught describing sexually assaulting women without their permission. However, prosecutors will be able to interrogate witnesses about the recording made public in the last weeks of the 2016 campaign.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office also urged Merchan on Monday to pay Trump $3,000 for social media statements that they said breached the judge’s gag order prohibiting him from assaulting witnesses. Last week, he used his Truth Social platform to label his former lawyer, Michael Cohen and adult film actress Stormy Daniels, “two sleaze bags who have, with their lies and misrepresentations, cost our country dearly!”

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, contended that Trump was only responding to the witnesses’ comments.

“It’s not like President Trump is going out and targeting people. “He is responding to these witnesses’ salacious, repeated, vehement attacks,” Blanche stated.

Merchan did not rule out the request immediately but scheduled a hearing for next week.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying company documents. Prosecutors believe the alleged fraud was part of an effort to prevent scandalous — and, Trump claims, false — tales about his personal life from surfacing during his 2016 campaign.

The allegations are based on $130,000 in payments made by Trump’s firm to Cohen. He paid that cash on Trump’s behalf a month before the election to prevent Daniels from going public with her claims of a sexual encounter with the married mogul a decade ago.

Prosecutors claim the payments to Cohen were falsely recorded as legal expenses to conceal their true purpose. Trump’s lawyers claim the disbursements were legal expenditures, not a cover-up.

After decades of fielding and bringing lawsuits, the businessman-turned-politician now faces a trial that may result in up to four years in prison if convicted, while a non-jail sentence is also an option. Trump is also expected to appeal any conviction.

Trump’s lawyers lost their quest to dismiss the hush-money case and have subsequently attempted to postpone it, resulting in a frenzy of last-minute appeals court proceedings last week.

Among other things, Trump’s attorneys argue that the jury pool in largely Democratic Manhattan has been corrupted by bad news about Trump and that the case should be transferred elsewhere.

An appeals judge denied an emergency motion to delay the trial, and a group of appellate judges will consider the change-of-venue request in the coming weeks.

Manhattan prosecutors have replied that most of the publicity derives from Trump’s words and that questioning will reveal whether prospective jurors can overcome their preconceived notions. They claim there is no reason to believe that 12 fair and impartial people cannot be identified among Manhattan’s roughly 1.4 million adult citizens.

The prospective jurors will only be identified by number since the judge has ordered that their names be kept secret from everyone save prosecutors, Trump, and their legal teams. The 42 preapproved, sometimes multi-pronged queries cover the basics while reflecting the case’s individuality.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump, or the fact that he is a current candidate for president, that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?” asks a single inquiry.

Others inquire about attendance at Trump or anti-Trump rallies, opinions on how he is being treated in the case, news sources, and other factors — including any “political, moral, intellectual, or religious beliefs or opinions” that may “slant” a prospective juror’s attitude to the case.

Based on the responses, the attorneys can request that a court remove persons “for cause” if they fulfill certain criteria for being unfit to serve or impartial. The lawyers can also use “peremptory challenges” to dismiss 10 potential jurors and two prospective alternates without explaining.

“If you strike everybody who’s either a Republican or a Democrat,” the judge noted at a February hearing, “you’re going to run out of peremptory challenges very quickly.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Charlie Colin, Founding Member Of The Band Train, Dies At 58 After Slipping In Shower

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Charlie Colin | AP News Image

BRUSSELS — Charlie Colin, the bassist and founding member of the band Train, best known for their early-aughts songs “Drops of Jupiter” and “Meet Virginia,” has passed away. He was 58.

Colin’s sister, Carolyn Stephens, confirmed her brother’s death to The Associated Press on Wednesday. He died after slipping and falling in the bathtub while housesitting for a friend in Brussels, according to celebrity website TMZ.com.

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Charlie Colin | NY Post Image

Charlie Colin, Founding Member Of The Band Train, Dies At 58 After Slipping In Shower

Colin grew up in Southern California and attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. After college, he joined the band Apostles, which included guitarist Jimmy Stafford and singer Rob Hotchkiss. After the band broke up, Colin spent a year writing jingles in Singapore.

Colin, Hotchkiss, and Stafford eventually migrated to San Francisco, where they created Train in the early 1990s alongside singer Pat Monahan. According to an interview with Colin and Hotchkiss in Berklee’s alumni magazine, Colin rounded out the quartet with drummer Scott Underwood.

Colin was a founding member of the pop-rock band, appearing on the band’s first three albums: 1998’s self-titled album, 2001’s “Drops of Jupiter,” and 2003’s “My Private Nation.” The latter two albums peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 charts.

“Meet Virginia,” from Train’s debut album, peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, but the band’s sophomore album cemented their fame.

The eight-time platinum title tune “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” featured Rolling Stones session pianist Chuck Leavell and Leonard Cohen’s string orchestrator Paul Buckmaster. It was written after Monahan’s mother’s death. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard list and won two Grammys, including Best Rock Song.

Colin departed Train in 2003 due to substance misuse.

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Charlie Colin | Reddit Image

Charlie Colin, Founding Member Of The Band Train, Dies At 58 After Slipping In Shower

“Charlie is one incredible bass player, but he was in a lot of pain, and the way he was dealing with it was very painful for everyone else around him,” Monahan stated to NBC San Diego.

In 2015, he rejoined Hotchkiss to form the new band Painbirds alongside Tom Luce. In 2017, he established the Side Deal, which included Sugar Ray’s Stan Frazier and the PawnShop Kings’ Joel and Scott Owen.

Train posted an homage to Colin on their social media platforms on Wednesday.

“When I met Charlie Colin (front left), I fell in love with him. He was the sweetest and most attractive man. “Let’s form a band; it’s the only reasonable thing to do,” it reads.

“His distinct bass playing and wonderful guitar work helped get people to notice us in San Francisco and abroad. I’ll always have a soft spot for him in my heart. I always attempted to bring him closer, but he had his vision. You are a legend, Charlie. “Go charm the pants off those angels,” the unsigned post added.

Colin documented his stay in Brussels before his death, declaring it “officially my favorite city” in a March Instagram post.

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Charlie Colin | NY Post Image

Charlie Colin, Founding Member Of The Band Train, Dies At 58 After Slipping In Shower

Colin also served as the music director for the Newport Beach Film Festival.

“Charlie was a special part of the Newport Beach Film Festival family,” said Todd Quartararo, the festival’s co-founder. “His heart, compassion and creativity will surely be missed.”

He is survived by his parents, sister, and niece

SOURCE – (AP)

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Matthew Perry’s Death Under Investigation In Connection With Ketamine Level Found In Actor’s Blood

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Friends Star Matthew Perry, 54 Found Dead at His LA Home

Los Angeles  — Authorities have begun an investigation into how Matthew Perry obtained the ketamine that killed him, police said Tuesday.

Los Angeles police are collaborating with the US Narcotic Enforcement Administration and the US Postal Inspection Service to investigate why the 54-year-old “Friends” star had so much of the narcotic in his system, LAPD Capt. Scot Williams said in an email.

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matthew Perry | CBC Image

Matthew Perry’s Death Under Investigation In Connection With Ketamine Level Found In Actor’s Blood

On Oct. 28, an assistant discovered Perry, 54, face down in his hot tub, and paramedics arrived and confirmed him dead. His autopsy, which was disclosed in December, revealed that the level of ketamine in his blood was within the range used for general anesthesia during surgery. The primary cause of death was categorized as an accident, with no foul play suspected, according to the report.

The coroner cited drowning and other medical conditions as contributory reasons.

TMZ initially revealed the probe.

People close to the star informed coroner’s investigators that he was receiving ketamine infusion therapy. The decades-old surgical medication has experienced a significant increase in use in recent years to treat depression, anxiety, and pain.

However, the medical examiner stated that Perry’s most recent treatment, which occurred one and a half weeks prior, could not account for the ketamine levels in his blood. The medication is normally metabolized within hours. According to the medical examiner’s report, Perry was being treated by at least two doctors: a psychiatrist and an anesthesiologist who also functioned as his primary care physician. No illegal drugs or paraphernalia were discovered at his home.

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Matthew Perry | People Image

Matthew Perry’s Death Under Investigation In Connection With Ketamine Level Found In Actor’s Blood

Perry struggled with addiction for years, beginning with his time on “Friends,” where he starred as Chandler Bing alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004.

In other cases, celebrity deaths caused by drugs prompted authorities to punish those who gave them.

After rapper Mac Miller died from an overdose of cocaine, alcohol, and fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone, two of the guys who gave him the fentanyl were convicted of trafficking it. One was sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison, while the other received 10 years.

Two doctors and a manager of model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith were charged with scheming to obtain her prescription medicines before her 2007 death but not with causing her deadly overdose. All accusations against one doctor were subsequently dismissedexcept one misdemeanor fraud charge.

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Matthew Perry | Rolling Stone Image

Matthew Perry’s Death Under Investigation In Connection With Ketamine Level Found In Actor’s Blood

After Michael Jackson died in 2009 from a deadly dose of propofol, a medicine designed for use only during surgery and other medical operations, not for the insomnia the singer wanted, his doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011. Murray has maintained his innocence.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accused Of 2003 Sexual Assault In Lawsuit

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Combs | AP News Image

NEW YORK — A former model accused Sean “Diddy” Combs of sexually abusing her at his New York City recording studio in 2003, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the latest in a slew of allegations against the embattled hip-hop entrepreneur.

Crystal McKinney, a prominent 22-year-old model, said she met Diddy at a restaurant during Men’s Fashion Week in Manhattan. The criminal complaint filed in New York City states that Combs invited her to his recording studio later that night.

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P diddy Combs | Sky News Image

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accused Of 2003 Sexual Assault In Lawsuit

According to the lawsuit, when McKinney arrived, Diddy was drinking and smoking joints with several other males. According to the lawsuit, she smoked some marijuana and “later came to understand” that it was tainted with a narcotic or intoxicating drug. She felt as if she were floating. Diddy escorted her to the restroom, where the sexual assault occurred, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Diddy escorted her back to the studio, where she lost consciousness. She later awoke in a taxi and discovered she had been sexually assaulted, according to the lawsuit.

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Combs | Cheat Sheet Image

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accused Of 2003 Sexual Assault In Lawsuit

Diddy’s reps did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

The Associated Press normally does not identify persons who claim to have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly, as McKinney has.

The complaint was filed days after CNN published security footage showing Combs assaulting singer Cassie in a Los Angeles hotel corridor in 2016. On Sunday, Diddy published a video admitting to attacking Cassie in a hotel hallway, stating he was “truly sorry” and his actions were “inexcusable.”

Diddy is not likely to face criminal charges for the incident due to the statute of limitations.

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Diddy Combs | AP News Image

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accused Of 2003 Sexual Assault In Lawsuit

Cassie filed a complaint in November alleging beatings and abuse, which was resolved a day later. However, it sparked increased scrutiny of Diddy, with numerous further lawsuits filed in the following months, as well as a federal criminal sex-trafficking probe that prompted investigators to raid Combs’ residences in Los Angeles and Miami.

The claim was filed on Tuesday under a New York City law that allows accusers to initiate civil litigation within a specific time frame, even if the alleged crimes occurred many years ago.

SOURCE – (AP)

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