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Jury Selection Starts in Cohen’s Suit against Trump Organization; Prospective Jurors Express Strong Sentiments About Trump

by Joshua Brown
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Michael Cohen lawsuit

The process of selecting the jury for Michael Cohen’s civil suit against the Trump Organization commenced this Monday. Cohen, who formerly served as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, alleges in the suit that he is due over $1 million in unpaid legal fees.

Approximately three dozen potential jurors gathered in a Manhattan courtroom, where Judge Joel Cohen outlined the forthcoming trial dates and asked a series of questions aimed at identifying any potential bias or conflicts of interest.

Following this, the judge inquired from the potential jurors, all residents of New York, if they held strong views about ex-President Donald Trump or his family. Laughter echoed through the room as a majority of the group raised their hands.

The jury selection unfolds a week ahead of the commencement of Cohen’s suit, which was originally filed in 2019. Cohen’s claim accuses the Trump Organization of breaching an agreement to cover his legal expenses, resulting in him shouldering $1.3 million in unpaid costs.

For a considerable period, Cohen served as Trump’s personal lawyer, at one point taking pride in his loyalty to Trump. However, their relationship soured in 2018 when the FBI raided Cohen’s premises in relation to multiple criminal investigations, leading to his plea of guilty to several charges in that year.

While the ex-President is not a witness in the trial, Judge Cohen informed the jury that Donald Trump Jr., his son, could potentially testify.

In a separate case, Cohen is anticipated to be a key witness for Manhattan prosecutors pursuing a criminal case against Trump over allegations of him hiding past extramarital affairs during his initial presidential campaign. The case relies on charges that Trump compensated Cohen substantially for his efforts in silencing those with potentially damaging stories about infidelity. Trump, however, denies any extramarital involvement with the implicated women.

When questioned about Cohen’s civil suit on Monday, most potential jurors admitted to holding strong feelings about Trump and his family, but claimed that their personal views wouldn’t hinder their impartial evaluation of the evidence.

Under state court rules, jurors for both cases are required to reside in Manhattan, a predominantly liberal area that voted against Trump by a wide margin in the last election.

Cohen alleges that the Trump Organization, where he previously held a vice presidential role, ceased funding his legal defense. The Trump Organization rejects this claim, contending that Cohen’s engagement in the federal probe was not related to his past role but was a personal endeavor to mitigate his own legal liability as he faced impending indictment.

In 2018, Cohen pled guilty to multiple charges, including lying to Congress, campaign finance law violations, bank fraud, and tax evasion, for not reporting over $4 million in income. He received a three-year prison sentence, of which he served the majority at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelming the prison system.

Cohen was absent from the jury selection on Monday and did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Trump Organization’s attorneys, Kiley, Kiley & Kiley, also remained unresponsive to requests for comments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Michael Cohen lawsuit

What is the civil lawsuit between Michael Cohen and the Trump Organization about?

The civil lawsuit filed by Michael Cohen against the Trump Organization pertains to unpaid legal fees. Cohen claims that he is owed over $1 million for his legal defense.

What is Michael Cohen’s relationship with Donald Trump?

Michael Cohen served as Donald Trump’s personal attorney and fixer for several years. However, their relationship deteriorated in 2018 after Cohen faced investigations and legal charges, leading to his guilty pleas.

Is Donald Trump involved as a witness in the trial?

No, Donald Trump is not expected to be a witness in the trial. However, it is possible that his son, Donald Trump Jr., may be called to testify.

What other legal case is Michael Cohen involved in related to Donald Trump?

Apart from his civil lawsuit, Michael Cohen is expected to be a key witness in a separate criminal case against Donald Trump. This case revolves around allegations of Trump attempting to cover up past extramarital affairs during his initial presidential campaign.

What were the charges that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to?

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to several charges, including lying to Congress, violating campaign finance laws, bank fraud, and tax evasion. These charges stemmed from various investigations and activities during his time as Trump’s lawyer.

How did potential jurors express their views on Donald Trump during the jury selection?

During the jury selection, when asked about their opinions on Donald Trump and his family, a significant number of potential jurors raised their hands or indicated that they held strong sentiments. However, they assured that their personal views would not affect their ability to evaluate the evidence impartially.

Where did the jury selection take place?

The jury selection process took place in a Manhattan courtroom. Jurors for both cases must reside in Manhattan, which is known as a liberal enclave that voted against Trump by a large margin in the previous election.

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