Jury selection has begun in the first criminal trial against a former US president. The court responsible for the case against Donald Trump in connection with hush money payments to a porn actress began the process of naming a total of twelve jurors, but initially did not commit to anyone. Things are scheduled to continue on Tuesday, but overall the personnel selection process could take several more days.

Around 96 of several hundred potential jurors were brought into the courtroom. When Trump was introduced as a defendant, he turned briefly from the dock to the potential jurors. About half of the men and women in Manhattan were released immediately after saying they felt unable to reach a fair verdict in the trial. Afterwards, more detailed questioning of the other candidates began.

In the trial, the public prosecutor’s office accused Trump of falsifying business documents. The Republican, who wants to move back into the White House in November, has pleaded not guilty. According to the court, the process could take up to eight weeks. If convicted, the 77-year-old faces a prison sentence of several years, which could also be suspended. Until recently, Trump’s lawyers had tried to avert, postpone or at least delay the proceedings.

Further criminal trials against Trump are underway

The background to the case is that Trump had $130,000 in hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016, shortly before his election as president. She had claimed to have had sex with him. Trump denies an affair, but does not deny that money was flowed. Non-disclosure agreements between two parties are not inherently illegal. However, Trump is accused of illegally recording the payments, trying to conceal them illegally and thereby trying to cover up other violations of the law.

Three more criminal trials against Trump are currently being prepared in the USA, including for attempted election fraud and taking secret government documents. There are also numerous civil lawsuits ongoing. The ex-president and his legal team are trying to block the proceedings by all means, and have already been partially successful in doing so.

The hush money trial involves less serious allegations than the other cases. According to experts, however, it is the process that could possibly be completed first. Trump denies all allegations against him and sees himself as a victim of a politically motivated justice system.