Full Jury Seated for Trump New York Trial

Full Jury Seated for Trump New York Trial
Former President Donald Trump attends his criminal trial as jury selection continues at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 18, 2024. (Timothy A. Clary-Pool/Getty Images)

Live updates of day 3 of former President Donald Trump’s “hush-money” trial in New York on April 18.

Trump: I’m Supposed to Be Campaigning

Stepping out of the courtroom, President Trump addressed the media for the first time today.

“I’m supposed to be in New Hampshire. I’m supposed to be in Georgia. I’m supposed to be in North Carolina and South Carolina. I’m supposed to be a hundred different places campaigning. But I’m here all day on a trial that really is a very unfair trial,” he said.

He had brought printouts of several news stories, showing them to the cameras.

“These are all stories over the last few days from legal experts, as is Wall Street Journal editorial. But all of these are stories from legal experts saying how this is not a case and the case is ridiculous,” he said. “I see another one, the case is ridiculous. Trump indictment. It’s missing fraud. There is no fraud.”

“Justice is on trial. You know, the whole world is watching this New York scandal trial,” he said, calling it a “spectacle.”

“The whole world is watching this hoax,” he said.

Opening Statements Monday

The court will start with opening statement April 22, and adjourn by 2 p.m. to accommodate for Passover.

April 23 will involve a hearing over gag order violation allegations and possible sanctions.

12 Jurors Seated

More jurors were seated after the replacements were filled, bringing the total to 12, a full jury.

Juror 8 is a man who has lived on the Upper East Side since the 1980s and is a retired wealth manager who still consults with some clients.

Juror 9 is a woman who grew up in New Jersey and now lives on the Upper East Side. She said she doesn’t watch the news or follow it too closely, but gets the New York Times and CNN morning newsletters.

Juror 10 is a man from Ohio who moved to New York six years ago and works for an eyewear company.

Juror 11 is a woman who lives in Upper Manhattan and works as a product development manager. She said she mainly follows industry-specific news.

Juror 12 is a woman who lives on the Upper East Side and moved to New York two and a half years ago. She works as a physical therapist and gets her news from New York Times, USA Today, and CNN.

One alternate was seated, and the panel questioned on Friday would fill the remaining alternate seats. Justice Merchan has said to expect opening arguments Monday.

10 Jurors Seated

Three more jurors were seated after the replacements were filled, bringing the total to 10.

Juror 8 is a man who has lived on the Upper East Side since the 1980s and is a retired wealth manager who still consults with some clients.

Juror 9 is a woman who grew up in New Jersey and now lives on the Upper East Side. She said she doesn’t watch the news or follow it too closely, but gets the New York Times and CNN morning newsletters.

Juror 10 is a man from Ohio who moved to New York six years ago and works for an eyewear company.

Juror Replacements Selected

The two jurors who were dismissed earlier today have been replaced by two others.

The replacement Juror 2 is a man who works in investment banking and follows a lot of news events on social media.

“Except for following Michael Cohen on Twitter, I don’t follow any anti-Trump organizations,” he said. “While I do not have any firmly held opinions or strong beliefs, I do follow the news.”

He also said, “I have not read any of President Trump’s books. I have seen quotes from Art of the Deal.”

The replacement Juror 4 is a man who has lived in the West Village for 15 years, originally from California, and works as a security engineer.

Next Panel Brought In

The next panel of prospective jurors were brought in and sworn in. The judge said they would be sent home and then questioned Friday from 11:30 a.m. onward.

Trump Attorney Questions Jurors

Susan Necheles asked prospective jurors, if someone says they want revenge against President Trump, can they understand that testimony should be evaluated in that light.

One juror answered that his politics were different from President Trump, and he might have posted as much on social media.

Another said, “I don’t like his persona. He is very selfish and self-serving. How he conducts himself in public, its just not my cup of tea.”

Some jurors were critical of his presidency, others, lifelong New Yorkers, said they were impressed by his development accomplishments.

Each juror affirmed they could return a not guilty verdict if the government failed to prove its case. The judge then asked the panel to step outside.

Prospective Jurors Discuss Conflicts

One prospective juror who is a law clerk said after thinking it over during the lunch break, she didn’t believe she could set aside her prior knowledge of the case. She had spent a year discussing the case with a judge and other law clerks on the legal merits.

Mr. Steinglass asked whether she was concerned she would not be able to put that aside.

“Frankly, yes,” she said.

Another flagged meeting defense attorney Susan Necheles once, about 15 years ago.

Mr. Steinglass asked whether prospective jurors had reservations about issuing a guilty verdict even if the evidence convinced him. They said no.

Attorneys Question Prospective Jurors

After a lunch recess, attorneys addressed the prospective jurors.

Attorney Joshua Steinglass asked individual jurors whether they felt the government had more to prove just because the defendant is Donald Trump. The remaining jurors answered they believed they could be objective.

Juror 4 Dismissed

After a break, Juror 4 was brought back in and questioned by the judge and attorneys.

“I’m directing that juror number 4 be excused,” Justice Merchan said after the discussion.

This leaves us with five jurors. The court needs to seat 12 jurors and about six alternates.

Juror 4 Questioned

Juror 4, who was flagged by prosecutors for his wife’s prior arrest for tearing down right-wing political advertisements, has been brought in and will be questioned. President Trump is looking on. The juror said something that made the attorneys laugh. A court officer told reporters in the room not to try and listen.

Remaining Jurors Answer Questionnaire

The remaining 40-some jurors answered the questionnaire aloud one by one.

One juror said they worked in a law firm and had discussed the legal merits of the case at length with colleagues. They had views on the case as a lawyer, but promised to judge based on evidence presented.

Another juror said the only potential conflict might be one of their children works for a U.S. Representative.

Another juror said they did not follow any anti-Trump organizations, “except for following Michael Cohen on Twitter.” Another said they followed both Mr. Cohen and President Trump on social media, and read a lot of news.

Half of Panel Excused For Impartiality

About half of the panel was excused for saying they could not be fair and impartial. A handful more had scheduling conflicts.

Now 48 jurors remain of the panel of 96.

President Trump turned around to get a look at them.

Next Panel Brought In

The next panel of 96 potential jurors were brought in and given instructions by the judge.

The judge noted that court would not convene on Passover dates, and there is no trial April 29.

He read aloud a list of names of people associated with the case and asked if any prospective juror had an honest, legitimate, and good faith reason to believe they could not be fair and impartial, to alert the court now: Donald Trump, Steven Bannon, Shannon Churcher, Michael Cohen, Kellyanne Conway, Stormy Daniels, Keith Bazin, Sherry Dillon, Rudy Giuiliani, Hope Hicks, DeWitt Hutchins, Jeffrey McConney, Reince Priebus, Bradley A Smith, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Allen Weisselberg.

Juror 4 Accused of Crime

Prosecutors raised an issue with Juror 4, finding that she answered on the questionnaire that she had never been accused of a crime but an article revealed she was arrested in the 1990s for tearing down political advertisements in Westchester, New York.

Upon additional research, prosecutors said, it seemed the juror was previously involved in a corruption inquiry that ended up in agreement with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

The juror was meant to come to court for additional questioning, but was not present.

Defense Challenges Gag Order

Prosecutors urged the judge to hold President Trump in contempt.

Defense attorneys argued the gag order did not prohibit reposting of commentary by others and the allegation spoke to the broad nature of the order they were challenging to begin with.

“I think that the comments this morning call to your attention the challenges to the gag order from the outset,” said attorney Todd Blanche.

“Mr. Cohen has been attacking President Trump with public statements with respect to his candidacy,” he added. “Your Honor said, in the April 1 order, that the gag order did not prohibit President Trump responding to political attacks, and we submit that that is what he is doing.”

Prosecutors said they couldn’t violate a gag order to test it, and defense attorneys said there is a proceeding for this kind of challenge and the government is required to establish there is no ambiguity in the order before President Trump can be said to have violated the order.

“We understand that we’re obligated by the order even though we disagree with its merits. At the same time, they have to establish lack of ambiguity,” Mr. Blanche said.

The judge said they would hear these issues during the April 23 hearing.

Prosecutors Say Linking NY Post Article a Gag Order Violation

The posts in question relate to Michael Cohen, the key witness in the case. They said President Trump had linked a NY Post op-ed titled “A serial perjurer will try to prove an old misdemeanor against Trump in an embarrassment for the New York legal system” written by legal scholar Jonathan Turley.

A second alleged violation was reposting this article to a campaign website.

President Trump did not post a comment along with the link on social media.

Prosecutor Says Trump Violated Gag Order 7 Times

Prosecutors showed the judge four recent social media posts by President Trump, saying this has brought the number of gag order violations up to seven.

On day one of the trial, prosecutors asked for a $3,000 fine on President Trump for violating the gag order by talking about witnesses in three social media posts.

Judge Prohibits Reporting on Jurors’ Physical Descriptions

Justice Merchan chided the press for revealing physical descriptions of potential jurors, noting they were seating an anonymous jury and not using names for a reason.

He said the press was allowed to quote what was on the record but said reporters should apply common sense and not include physical descriptions as it “serves no purpose.”

“For example, there’s no reason for anyone to mention that one of the jurors had an Irish accent,” he said.

“If you can’t do that, if you can’t stick to that, we’ll have to see what we can do to ensure the jurors remain safe.”

Justice Merchan said the reason they had lost a juror was because she was intimidated by the press. He is considering dropping questionnaire items about jurors’ employers.

The defense argued they shouldn’t be deprived of information because of the media’s actions. The judge acknowledged that the defense should have the information, but reporters will not be able to disclose it and it will be struck from transcripts.

Juror Changes Mind

New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan called attorneys up to confer shortly after taking the bench.

Justice Merchan said Juror 2 had concerns about her ability to be fair and impartial about the case after sleeping on the decision overnight.

She was brought into the room and said after thinking about it, she has friends, colleagues, and family that “push things” and outside influences would likely affect her impartiality. She added that she had been identified as a juror from news reports.

The judge excused her.

The court had sworn in six jurors and one alternate on the second day of trial.

Protestors Dwindle on Day 3

The weather is cold and drizzly, so protestors that have been present in droves on the first two days of trial are notably absent.

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