7 Jurors Sworn In for Trump Trial, More to Come

7 Jurors Sworn In for Trump Trial, More to Come
Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during the second day of his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 16, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The first seven jurors have been selected and sworn in to serve on former president Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York, with the selection process continuing to pick another five to make up the 12-member jury panel, as lawyers grilled members of the jury pool to determine whether they can sit in fair judgment of the former president.

Potential jurors faced hours of questions on April 16, with dozens of potential members quizzed on their occupation, marital status, social media posts, and where they got their news.

Each side used several preemptory strikes to reject certain jurors, while others were stricken over politically charged social media posts.

In one case that sparked a spate of controversial online reactions, Judge Juan Merchan ruled that the juror who joined an election victory parade for President Joe Biden was not disqualified because the juror claimed she thought it was celebration of essential workers.

“This doesn’t seem just,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote in a post on X, commenting on the development.

“Now imagine if Biden were on trial in red Mississippi & the judge declared that a juror wearing a MAGA hat who attended a Trump Victory Party was impartial,” former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wrote in a post. “The MSM would have a meltdown & Antifa would be on the streets. This trial isn’t about justice, it’s election interference.”

A man originally from Texas whose circle of associates was in accounting and finance said it was possible he could lean Republican and have an unconscious bias. The potential juror was excused after Judge Juan Merchan said that the bar for serving on the panel is unequivocal assurance of impartiality.

At one point, the judge granted the defense’s request to strike down one of the jurors over a social media post that pointed to an anti-Trump bias. The judge read the post into the record (“Good news!!  Trump lost his court battle on his unlawful travel ban!!!” and “Get him out, and lock him up.”) adding that the prospective juror “expressed the desire … that Mr. Trump be locked up.”

In a case officially known as The People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, the former president is accused of hiding so-called hush money payments to an adult performer by falsifying business records. If found guilty, he could face a prison sentence.

President Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and, before he entered the courtroom on April 15, the first day of the trial, he reiterated his position that the case is politically motivated.

“This is really an attack on a political opponent. That’s all it is,” he told reporters outside the courtroom before going inside.

Jurors Sworn In

The judge swore in six jurors just before 4 p.m., telling them as they took their places in the jury box that, “this will be your permanent seat for the duration of the trial.”

Later, the judge swore in a seventh juror, remarking that he hoped the process of seating all the jurors would wrap up this week and opening statements in the trial could begin Monday.

Another five jurors still need to be selected, as do another six alternates.

The methodical process of jury selection highlights the challenge of finding people able to sit in fair judgment of President Trump, a polarizing figure in U.S. politics who has argued that extensive negative media coverage would make it impossible for him to get a fair trial.

The former president sought an adjournment of the trial on the premise of too much prejudicial pretrial publicity but Judge Merchan rejected that reasoning. The judge said that President Trump’s concern about getting a fair hearing would be assuaged by “conducting a thorough, thoughtful and effective voir dire,” referring to the process of questioning potential jurors to identify potential bias.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told would-be jurors that attorneys were not looking for people who had been “living under a rock for the past eight years,” just that they needed to keep an open mind.

The seven jurors sworn in are as follows:

Juror No. 1 is a middle-aged salesman who likes the outdoors. He said he normally gets his news from The New York Times, Daily Mail, Fox News, and MSNBC.

Juror No. 2 is an oncology nurse who likes taking her dog for walks in the park. She said she typically gets her news from The New York Times, CNN, Google, and Facebook.

Juror No. 3 is a corporate attorney who likes hiking and running. He said he usually gets his news from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Google.

Juror No. 4 is an IT consultant who normally gets his news from the Daily News, The New York Times, and Google.

Juror No. 5 is an English teacher who usually gets her news from Google and TikTok.

Juror No. 6 is a software engineer who likes going dancing and watching TV, and gets her news from The New York Times and TikTok.

Juror No. 7 is a civil litigator from North Carolina who now lives in New York City’s Upper East Side.

After swearing in the seventh juror, the judge concluded the proceedings for the day.

What’s the Case About?

In the case, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Under New York state law, falsifying business records is a misdemeanor. But the charge could be elevated to a felony if the fraud was used to cover up or commit another crime.

Mr. Bragg has elevated the charge to a felony by alleging that the underlying crime was a scheme to influence the 2016 election by burying unfavorable news coverage of an alleged affair with adult performer Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, in exchange for $130,000 in “hush money” payments.

The former president has denied the affair and has claimed that the case is a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

The trial is expected to last for six weeks or more, with some jury members bringing up plans they have for Memorial Day, and one being excused on Monday due to a wedding in late June.

From The Epoch Times

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