US media reports say former US President Donald Trump attended the first day of his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 15.  The former president has reportedly been inside a half-dozen courthouses over the past year.

CNN reports that Trump only spoke three times during Monday’s session, acknowledging to the judge he understood his rights as a criminal defendant.  Throughout the day Trump reportedly often engaged with his attorneys, whispering to them and sharing notes as they debated motions with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

CBS News reports that Trump is charged with 34 state counts of falsifying business records related to a “hush money” payment his attorney made to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.  He has reportedly pleaded not guilty to all charges, claiming the prosecution is part of a plot by Democrats aimed at preventing him from retaking the White House.  

According to CBS News, the process is expected to take at least a week, and likely longer.  Trump's lawyers and prosecutors will seek to whittle the group of potential jurors down to just 12, plus half a dozen alternates.  Once jury selection is over, the two sides will then begin presenting their cases, with the prosecution going first.

As a criminal defendant, Trump is required to attend proceedings each day of the trial unless he applies for and is granted a waiver.  Court personnel and lawyers from both sides have said they expect the trial to last between six and eight weeks.