(The Center Square) – Opening arguments could begin next week in the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys this week picked 12 jurors and six alternates to decide the high-profile criminal case in New York, the first time a former president has gone on trial.

Trump, 77, returned to court Friday for the fourth day of the history-making trial.

Judge Juan Merchan said opening arguments will be delivered by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s team and Trump defense attorneys, Fox News reported.

Merchan’s gag order remains in place. Merchan imposed the order last month before the trial began. The order prohibits Trump from making or directing others to make public statements about witnesses concerning their potential participation or about counsel in the case or about court staff, District Attorney staff or family members of staff.

“Judge Merchan is ‘railroading’ me, at breakneck speed, in order to completely satisfy his ‘friends.’ Additionally, he has ‘GAGGED’ me so that I cannot talk about the most important of topics, including his totally disqualifying conflict of interest, and taking away my Constitutional Right of Free Speech,” Trump posted on his social media platform Friday afternoon. “Almost every Legal Scholar and Expert has stated that there is ‘NO CASE,’ that this is a SCAM brought about by a Corrupt District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, who has let Violent Crime in New York flourish at levels never seen before, working with Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, IN ORDER TO HARM HIS POLITICAL OPPONENT, ME. THIS IS ELECTION INTERFERENCE AT A LEVEL NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. MAGA2024!”

Trump will spend four days a week in court in New York for the next six to eight weeks on state charges that he disguised hush money payments to two women as legal expenses during the 2016 election.

Trump pleaded not guilty in April 2023 to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Trump faces 88 felony charges spread across four cases in Florida, Georgia, New York and Washington.

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