Home » Hush money trial judge doubles down on not showing Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ tape to jurors

Hush money trial judge doubles down on not showing Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ tape to jurors

by John Jefferson
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The judge presiding over former President Trump’s hush money trial doubled down on his decision that footage of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape would not be shown to jurors. 

“I remain convinced at this moment … that the tape should not come in,” Judge Juan Merchan told the court on Monday. 

The 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape came to light ahead of the 2016 election and showed Trump boasting to host Billy Bush that he could kiss and grope women due to his star power. 

Merchan had previously denied the prosecution from showing the tape to jurors, saying in March, “it is not necessary that the tape itself be introduced into evidence or that it be played for the jury.”

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Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass pushed back Monday to include evidence surrounding the video, which he said is an “admission of sexual assault” and “living proof that the defendant wasn’t all talk.”

“That is more than just comments of a sexual nature,” Steinglass said, adding that when the video surfaced in 2016, it threw Trump’s presidential campaign into a “tailspin.”

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Trump’s attorney said the video is prejudicial and too salacious to present to the jury. 

Judge Merchan poses for photo

“The people will get everything they need to prove the charges in this case from what your honor has already ruled,” Blanche said.

Though Merchan said the video cannot be shown to jurors, prosecutors can introduce Trump’s exact words from the video, as well as an email related to the tape. 

The hush money trial officially kicked off Monday morning in Manhattan, where Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

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Stormy Daniels speaking with media at Avenatti trial

The trial revolves around payments made by Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to former pornographic actor Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. The $130,000 payment was to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with Trump in 2006.

Trump, however, has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

The charges stem from checks written by the Trump Organization to Cohen over a roughly 12-month period reimbursing him for the payment to Daniels. Prosecutors say the checks were falsely recorded as legal expenses.

Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor, and prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with an intent to commit or conceal a second crime, which is a felony. 

Former President Donald Trump attends the first day of his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York

Trump could face more than 10 years in prison if convicted, though legal experts have speculated the former president would more likely be given probation of up to four years if found guilty by the jury. 

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The trial is kicking off with jury selection, where potential jurors will be asked a series of questions to determine if they can fairly weigh in on the case. Jury selection is anticipated to last at least a week, while the trial is expected to continue for at least six weeks. 

Former US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Manhattan criminal court

Upon arrival at the courthouse Monday, Trump slammed the case as “political persecution.” 

“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” he said in Lower Manhattan. “This is political persecution. … It’s a case that should have never been brought.”

“This is an assault on America and that’s why I’m very proud to be here,” Trump added. “This is really an attack on a political opponent.”

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