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Trump returns to court in hush-money trial

Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, attends the second day of his trial for allegedly covering up hush-money payments linked to extramarital affairs with adult movie actress Stormy Daniels, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 16, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Donald Trump, the former US president, has returned to court in the hush-money trial, one of four separate criminal cases lodged against him.

The New York native who now lives in his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida returned on Tuesday for the second day of jury selection in the historic trial.

“This is a trial that should never have been brought,” Trump said, speaking to reporters before the trial.

Trump said it was unfair that he was in court rather than on the 2024 US presidential election campaign trail.

Jury selection is expected to take the rest of the week, and the trial is scheduled to last through at least May.

Alvin Bragg, the elected Manhattan District Attorney, is bringing charges against Trump, including 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election.

The 45-year-old adult movie actress said she had had a sexual relation with Trump when she was ten years younger.

Trump, 77, denies any relation with her.

Trump has said the payment to Daniels was a personal matter. His lawyers have claimed there could have been multiple reasons for the payment.

In the other criminal cases lodged against him, Trump stands accused of mishandling classified information and trying to overturn his 2020 loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

But the hush-money case may be the only one to go to trial before Trump faces his Democratic rival in the November presidential election.

If convicted, Trump would still be able to run for office and serve as president if he won.

However, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that half of independents and a quarter of Trump’s fellow Republicans would not vote for him if he is found guilty by the jury.

Trump, who claims all the legal cases brought against him were politically-motivated, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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