Six jurors in Trump's New York criminal trial already selected

Six jurors in Trump's New York criminal trial already selected

The presiding judge criminal case against Donald Trump in New York scolded the former president on Tuesday when he audibly dismissed a potential juror's explanation for why he videotaped a street celebration of his 2020 re-election loss.

New York County Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan reprimanded Trump after his defense attorney, Todd Blanche, tried unsuccessfully to block the woman from being placed on the jury because she had released the video of the scene of the street on social networks.

Merchan told Blanche to explain to the defendant that he would not tolerate such an attitude: “I will not allow any jurors to be intimidated in this courtroom,” he said.

Then, after the prospective juror left the courtroom, Merchan scolded Trump for his behavior. Merchan said Trump was “saying something audibly,” “gesturing” and “speaking in his direction.”

The woman told Merchan that she remembered seeing people dancing in the street when President Joe Biden defeated Trump and described it as a “celebration moment in New York City.” The woman said that if she were on the jury, she would not let the timing of 2020 affect her trial.

“I believe very, very strongly that, regardless of my thoughts about something or someone or my political feelings, the job of the jury is to understand the facts of the trial and to be the judge of the facts,” he declared.

The woman noted that on Monday “people left because they thought they couldn't” judge the case fairly. “I don't believe that about me at all.”

The judicial drama occurred when Merchan began to elect 12 jurors and six substitutes to hear the first criminal case against a former president of the United States.

By late afternoon, six of the 12 jurors had been selected.

Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee against Biden in the Nov. 5 election, is accused of conspiring to hide money payments to cover up alleged extramarital affairs just before his successful 2016 campaign for the White House.

In another challenge to the jury, Merchan sided with attorney Blanche in dismissing a potential juror who celebrated on Facebook that early in Trump's presidency he lost a court case challenging his ban on Muslims entering the US. The prospective juror said Trump should be jailed.

Previously, Merchan dismissed several potential jurors when they acknowledged they could not fairly judge the case.

Before reaching the second day of the trial, Trump complained about Merchan on the platform Truth Social, saying: “This conflict, the judge who hates Trump won't let me respond to the people who are on TV lying and spewing hate all the time.” day. He is trampling on my lawyers and my legal team.

The sentiment expressed by the would-be jurors is perhaps not surprising. Biden defeated Trump by an 85% to 15% margin in the 2020 election in Manhattan, the New York City borough where the trial is taking place, and the names of potential jurors were drawn at random from the list of registered voters.

With so much opposition to Trump in the city where he lived a celebrity-filled life and presided over his real estate conglomerate before entering politics in 2015, it could take days to seat the jury along with six alternates.

Trump has routinely attacked Merchan for her rulings in the case. He complained Monday that the lawyer did not immediately agree to postpone the case on May 17 so he could attend his son Barron's high school graduation in Florida.

Merchan has asked the New Yorkers on the jury about the media in which they read or listen to the news of the day, their marital status, if they have children and where they work.

Merchan has hundreds more potential jurors waiting in court to be tested, if necessary. The judge has a list of 42 questions. When he finished questioning 18 potential jurors, prosecutors and Trump's lawyers took their turn.

Lawyers, under Merchan's edict, could not ask potential jurors whether they voted for or against Trump in his 2016 and 2020 campaigns or about their political party records.

However, Blanche tried to get a potential juror's opinion on the country's 45th president, but the man repeatedly refused to talk about it, saying he had “absolutely no connection to the case.” The would-be juror eventually said he was a Democrat, but did not elaborate.

The former president watches the proceedings from the defendant's table, flanked by his lawyers, takes some notes and occasionally glances at the potential jurors. He appeared to fall asleep at times during Monday afternoon's proceedings before waking up again.

He could eventually take the witness stand to defend himself, depending on how he and his lawyers view prosecutors' evidence.

With Trump scheduled to appear in court, the case will almost certainly limit the 77-year-old candidate's campaign time.

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