Did he snooze or was it fake news? For all the saturation coverage given to Donald Trump’s trial in Manhattan, the line that caught many people’s attention - guilty, your honour - was whether the former US president had enjoyed a nap during proceedings.

As a reporter for the New York Times put it: “Mr Trump appeared to nod off a few times, his mouth going slack and his head dropping onto his chest.”

Team Trump fiercely denied their man had been in the arms of Morpheus or anyone else. Nothing more than “100% fake news” his advisers said.

That response is going to get old very quickly so here’s hoping there are a few more responses in the Trump arsenal. It is early days in People v Trump, better known as the Hush Money-Stormy Daniels trial. Whatever you want to call it, the former president denies any wrongdoing.

Jury selection is continuing, and the trial could last six to eight weeks. As in many a war, there will be long periods of boredom punctuated by quite interesting bits, or in this case full-on cartoon character, eyes out on stalks moments. Chances are the defendant, like many others, will at some point feel their eyelids drooping. The man is 77 for heaven’s sake. Even at 47 he would struggle to avoid afternoon drowsiness.

Should sleepiness call again, Mr Trump may like to borrow a response from his maternal motherland and say he was not napping but merely “resting his eyes”. That or some variation of “If it was good enough for Churchill…” should suffice. Perhaps Liz Truss backing him to regain the presidency will be enough to keep him awake for the next few weeks.

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Sympathies go to the hardest-working attendees at this judicial bunfight to end all judicial bunfights. Not the court security staff and the police who are present in huge numbers (is anyone minding the shop?), but the media.

So many attempts were made to capture the moment in just the right words. How does one do justice to the first time a former US president stands trial on criminal charges? Many reached for “historic”, “unprecedented” and “momentous”. Someone chanced their arm with “a day that will live in infamy”, which seemed poor taste even in these surroundings.

It was hard to know what tone to take. After decades of covering Mr Trump and his excesses, how could the media get across that this was “it”, that this mattered? How do you carve out some hush when so much noise has been made for so long?

Even if this is “it” and voters tune in once again for the Trump show, it is not certain any minds will change. The number of Americans who have not come to a view on Mr Trump has to be vanishingly small. Add these to the number of general undecideds in the key states that could decide the result of the election, and the most important ballot of our age begins to look like a minority pursuit. So much depending on so few.

It would help to know more about these very important voters, particularly the ones who could be swayed by a guilty verdict or a not guilty one. In a recent New York Times/Siena College poll, a majority believed Mr Trump should be found guilty. As ever this was split on party lines, with Democrat voters more likely to believe in his guilt and Republicans his innocence. There was one intriguing detail, however: 18% of voters said they were not sure one way or the other. As the paper’s polling editor said, that was “relatively high”. Crucially, this 18% was dominated by Trump supporters.

So there is a lot to play for and it is not only Mr Trump who will be under the bright lights. How the media handle proceedings is important. The need for fairness is even more pressing given the trial is not being televised. In an age of access all areas, this is one place the cameras will not be allowed to linger.

Going by the rulings so far about what is and is not admissible as evidence, there will be dramatic moments to come. It will be tempting but unwise to feast on these to the exclusion of more mundane matters. Justice, however slowly and sometimes tediously it inches along, has to be done and seen to be done.

How to square this with the needs of fast-moving digital news is going to test editors and reporters everywhere. The pressure to be first will be intense and the scope for error ever present. It is not just error to worry about. Incorrect interpretation, muddled or one-sided analysis, and plain old saying the same stuff over and over - the curse of 24/7 news - could make readers and viewers turn away in droves. Now is the time for all good experts to come to the aid of the media.

At the same time, the media cannot bore the audience into submission or talk down to it. The case is People v Trump, not Elites, media and otherwise, v Trump. There is a great opportunity here for the mainstream professional media to show its worth, and equally to get it wrong.

Also at the defence table, albeit metaphorically, are the Democrats and everyone else who has pushed for these days in court. On day one Mr Trump described the proceedings as a “political persecution like never before” and an “assault on America”. Perhaps most damagingly, he concluded: “This is really an attack on a political opponent, that’s all it is.”

He has said similar at his rallies before, but this time was different. This time he was speaking on his way into a courtroom. Delays to the various criminal cases against Mr Trump mean this could be the only one that concludes before the election. If the case against him proves to be flimsy or otherwise flawed the general wave of prosecutions directed his way will come under renewed scrutiny. So yes, this matters.

Good luck everybody, you’re going to need it.