Trump’s Criminal Trial Begins With a Bumpy Jury Selection

By Equipo
7 Min Read

New York prosecutors joined Donald Trump and his attorneys today in a Manhattan courtroom for the official start of the first criminal trial of an American president. Trump is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal during his 2016 campaign. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.

After the judge overseeing the case rejected Trump’s latest effort to oust him, the prosecution and the defense began collaborating on the arduous process of choosing a jury. Immediately, they ran into problems.

More than half of the first pool of 96 prospective jurors was dismissed after they indicated they did not believe they could be impartial, and court adjourned for the day with zero jurors chosen. My colleague Alan Feuer noted that such a high initial failure rate is “surpassingly rare,” underscoring the challenges of seating an impartial jury for a defendant whom much of the country has already made its mind up about. Here’s an explanation of the jurors both sides want.

The trial — perhaps the only one against Trump that will unfold before Election Day — is projected to take about six weeks, the judge told the prospective jurors. But it could stretch out longer if jury selection turns out to be especially time consuming. The process will be crucial for both sides, but could be especially challenging for the defense, who will effectively be searching for red needles in Manhattan’s giant blue haystack.

“The defense will be looking for working class voters, people that work in city jobs, perhaps firefighters, police, sanitation workers,” my colleague Jesse McKinley, who is writing our Trump on Trial newsletter, said.

Israel’s war cabinet met to weigh a response to Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is facing conflicting pressures as he considers whether and how to retaliate against Iran for its missile and drone attack over the weekend. Some far-right members of his government have called for an immediate military response, while many international leaders, including President Biden, have urged Israel to de-escalate.

Netanyahu’s war cabinet met again today, but so far there has been no response to the attack. And rather than preparing the public for a showdown with its archrival, the government signaled a return to relative normalcy, lifting restrictions on large gatherings and allowing schools to reopen. Here’s the latest.

Scientists warned of the widest-ever threat to coral

Record ocean temperatures have put so much stress on the world’s coral reefs that they are losing their vital algae — a process referred to as bleaching — on an unprecedented scale. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projected that the current crisis would within weeks become the most extensive bleaching event on record.

A NOAA official said that more than 54 percent of the world’s coral area has experienced bleaching-level heat stress in the past year, and that figure is increasing by about 1 percent per week.

Congress is targeting a Chinese firm that makes key U.S. drugs

WuXi AppTec is among the Chinese drug companies that lawmakers have identified as a potential threat to the security of Americans’ genetic information and U.S. intellectual property. But the company develops and produces crucial therapies for cancer, cystic fibrosis, H.I.V. and other illnesses.

As Congress considers legislation to push U.S. companies away from doing business with firms like WuXi, drug executives have warned that removing the company from the American market could also take some drugs out of the pipeline for years.

A landmark art career outside the establishment

Faith Ringgold, who died on Saturday at 93, was most famous for her narrative quilts depicting the joys and rigors of Black lives. But she was an expert at mixing the personal and political across a number of mediums, including sculpture, painting and writing.

But major museums, auction houses and galleries never quite knew what to do with her art, so they mostly ignored it. This was a consequence, she often said, of her race, her sex and her uncompromising focus on art as a vehicle for social justice. It wasn’t until very recently, when Ringgold was approaching 90, that MoMA finally acquired some of her works. The museum paired one alongside a Picasso.

Do clearer images make movies better?

Film restorers are taking advantage of rapidly improving artificial intelligence tools to sharpen decades-old movies. Recently, several of James Cameron’s films, including “True Lies” and “Aliens,” were upgraded with machine-learning technology that makes water appear crystalline and colors look bright and vivid.

Some critics strongly dislike the results. The lack of imperfections delivers an uncanny feeling for some viewers, while others are more broadly skeptical of the suggestion that A.I. could improve on human art.

A handmade video game

For more than a decade, Onat Hekimoglu had wanted to make a video game about a hapless janitor stuck in an undersea city. But he had no digital design experience. So he made Harold Halibut almost entirely by hand.

Nearly everything onscreen was made of physical materials like cardboard and clay, including the characters, with costumes sewn from real textiles, then 3-D scanned so they could be animated digitally.

Have a skillful evening.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

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