Jury Questioning Resumes on Day 2 of Trump ‘Hush-Money’ Trial

Several more prospective jurors filed into the courtroom on April 16 to face questioning from attorneys and Judge Juan Merchan. Several jurors have moved on to the next round of the screening process after some were excused after saying they could not serve impartially.


President Trump again criticized Justice Merchan for not stepping down due to an alleged conflict of interest after the court adjourned.

“I just want to thank you very much, and we are going to continue our fight against this judge. I think he’s totally conflicted. He’s a conflicted judge as you know. To watch by the whole world so we think we have a very accurate and highly conflicted view and again case and he’s rushing this trial and doing as much as he can for the Democrats,” he said.

“This trial is being watched by the whole world,” President Trump added, repeating his remarks from the morning.  “We have a highly conflicted judge and he’s rushing this trial, doing everything he can for the Democrats. This is a Biden-inspired witch hunt.”

He did not take questions about how he thinks the case may affect his campaign or the elections.

The case will take him off the campaign trail for an estimated six to eight weeks, with Wednesdays off. On Monday, defense attorneys said President Trump’s campaign has taken pains to schedule events on Wednesdays as much as possible.

President Trump said he would be visiting a bodega after leaving court. His campaign sent out an email that the bodega is where Jose Alba, a bodega clerk, was robbed and attacked and wrongfully accused of murder. The email blasted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for not doing more to combat retail theft.

7 Jurors Sworn In for Trump Trial

By Tom Ozimek

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.

Read full story here

Attorneys Question 6 Jurors

Attorneys questioned the last six jurors from the first panel through 5:30 p.m., and then court adjourned for the day.

Second Panel Sworn In

A second panel of 96 jurors is being sworn in.

One got excited seeing the former president and reached for her phone. A security guard reminded her to put it away. Some looked curious, others anxious.

“I know that you’ve been sitting around all day, waiting for something to happen, and I want you to know that that wasn’t lost on us,” Justice Merchan told them.

Opening Statements Scheduled for April 22

After Justice Merchan swore in the jurors, he said to plan on opening statements Monday, April 22, at 9:30 a.m.

6 Jurors Empaneled

Six jurors have been empaneled from the first batch, and are being sworn in.

Some of the prospective jurors dismissed looked relieved.

Judge Strikes Juror for Social Media Post

Justice Merchan granted the defense’s request to strike one of the jurors over a social media post that read:
“Good news!! Trump lost his court battle on his unlawful travel ban!!!” and “Get him out, and lock him up.”

The judge read the post into the record, adding that the prospective juror “expressed the desire … that Mr. Trump be locked up.” If found guilty in this case, President Trump does face a potential jail sentence.

The judge declined to question a different juror over posts her husband made in 2016, including one with a “The Avengers unite against Trump” theme.

Another juror had posted an AI-generated video making fun of President Trump in March 2024, and posted about jury duty. He was also struck for cause.

Judge Warns Trump of Juror Intimidation

Justice Merchan warned the defense that when jurors were being questioned, President Trump was “audible” and “muttering,” though the judge could not make out what he was saying.

“I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom,” the judge said.

Judge, Attorneys Discuss Social Media Posts

Justice Merchan and and the attorneys were in a discussing over social media posts when break ended and the courtroom was opened.

“Juror number 1 has a series of extraordinarily hostile Facebook posts,” Mr. Blanche told the judge.

The judge said attorneys would be able to question prospective jurors individually over social media posts.

Defense Addresses Jurors

Defense attorney Todd Blanche is addressing jurors. He said it was extraordinarily important that his client get a “fair shake.”

One juror said President Trump has “targeted females” and so many of their friends have strong opinions about that, and whether he has treated women correctly.

Two jurors said that it boils down to the law as the judge presents it. Another said their personal feelings about President Trump will be left at the door. “I can compartmentalize,” one said.

Trump Gives Thumbs Up, No Remarks

The court took a brief break after Mr. Steinglass’s remarks.

President Trump gave reporters a thumbs up while passing by on his way back into the courtroom but did not take questions.

He told the judge he had waived his right to be present for sidebar discussions between the judge and attorneys.

Prosecutors Address Timing of the Case

Mr. Steinglass instructed the jury that the charged crimes in the case take place in 2017 and some of the evidence goes back to 2015.

He told the jury they may be curious as to why the trial is happening now, but they were not allowed to speculate on this matter. He asked whether jurors felt the case was less deserving of attention because of the passage of time, noting that they required assurance the jurors would judge the case based on the evidence presented.

In court filings, the prosecutors had argued that the timing of the case was in part due to holding off to not interfere with a related federal investigation. The judge ruled that the defense could not argue that the prosecutors timed their case for election interference purposes.

Mr. Steinglass warned the jurors there would be “minor discrepancies” in witness testimony of these events from years, some almost a decade, ago. He noted that some of the witnesses have appeared in the media, podcasts, and documentaries speaking about things related to the case, in some case contradicting facts they will testify to under oath before the jury. He asked whether anyone thought they would “shut their ears” and not hear the rest of the evidence based on prior knowledge through the media. He asked them to separate believability from likeability.

He instructed the jury that they would have to make determinations as to President Trump’s intentions related to the charged crimes. He went down the line and asked if the jurors thought themselves capable of rendering a guilty verdict as President Trump looked on.

Prosecutors Say Jurors Need to Set Aside Strong Feelings Regarding Trump

Justice Merchan gave instructions to the remaining jurors that the attorneys will now address them, beginning with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

“We’re trying to pick a jury that can be fair to both sides,” attorney Joshua Steinglass said. He added that the defendant is a former president and current candidate for president, so no one is saying one can’t be a fair juror if you’ve heard of Donald Trump. “That said, we need you to set aside any strong feelings you may have.”

He told the jury there was no special formula just because the defendant is Donald Trump, asking if the jurors could adhere to this.

Manhattan DA Files Contempt Motion

Prosecutors officially filed a motion for the $3,000 fine on President Trump they had requested in court on day one of the trial.

They claim President Trump “willfully violated this court’s order by publishing several social media posts attacking two known witnesses.”

Justice Merchan had issued a gag order prohibiting President Trump from making statements, or directing others to make statements, about jurors, witnesses, court staff and counsel and their families, if it interferes with the case. Key witnesses include high profile figures like Michael Cohen and Stephanie Clifford, better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels.

30-some Jurors Questioned

After some delay because two jurors were late and one absent for illness, the remaining 30-some jurors from the first panel continued to answer questions about their occupation, marital status, where they get their news.

A man originally from Texas whose circle is mainly in accounting and finance said it was possible he could slant Republican and have an unconscious bias. The judge said they needed unequivocal assurance of impartiality, and the juror was excused.

Trump: Whole World Is Watching

President Trump addressed the press before heading into the courtroom, noting that the whole world was watching this case. Indeed, the media presence in the courtroom has been international, including outlets from the Netherlands to Israel.

“This is a trial that should never should have been brought, a trial that they’re looking upon, all over the world they’re looking at it and analyzing it,” President Trump said. “Every legal scholar said this case is a disgrace.”

President Trump criticized the judge as a “disgrace” saying he should have stepped down for conflicts of interest.

He said he had hired Michael Cohen as a lawyer and paid him for legal expenses. “And you get indicted over that?” he said. “I should be, right now, in Pennsylvania, in Florida, in many other states … campaigning. This is all coming from the Biden White House because the guy can’t put two sentences together.”

Trump Arrives

The Trump motorcade has arrived at the downtown courthouse in Manhattan.

Former President Donald Trump was instructed by New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan yesterday that he must attend all court proceedings related to the jury, or else face consequences such as arrest and jail time.

President Trump criticized the judge to reporters afterwards, for not excusing him for his son’s high school graduation in May.

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks after jury selection is complete.

From The Epoch Times

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