Excerpts from the second day of jury selection in Trump's hush money trial



CNN

A panel of seven jurors on Tuesday will decide the former president Donald Trumpof guilt or innocence New York hush money caseA process that highlighted how difficult — and often contentious — it is to select a full jury.

Speed ​​up Trump's criminal investigation

Trump's lawyers have mined the social media posts of prospective jurors to try to root out those with anti-Trump biases from serving on the jury.

That process triggered Judge Juan Merson To admonish Trump for his behavior toward the first juror who questioned him about his social media. It's a quick warning that he won't tolerate any attempt to intimidate jurors—it doesn't come all day, but it certainly lingers in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

The courtroom remains dark Wednesday — expected for the duration of the expected six-week trial — but jury selection will resume Thursday with a new panel of 96 prospective jurors to complete the panel.

Here are the takeaways from Day 2 of the Trump hush money trial:

So far four men and three women have been selected to serve on the jury, which will ultimately consider 34 fraudulent business records against Trump.

An Irishman who works in sales in New York City is appointed foreperson of the jury, who essentially serves as a team spokesperson.

Five out of seven have a college degree or higher education. Two of the team are lawyers.

All but one of the jurors empaneled Tuesday indicated they knew Trump was facing charges in other criminal cases. Of the 18 jurors questioned, the woman was the only one who said she was unaware of the other charges.

None of them shared particularly strong views about Trump or politics.

After prosecutors have finished questioning the first 18 jurors in a process known as voir dire, both sides are given the opportunity to ask the judge to dismiss the jurors for cause.

Removing jurors for cause is an important part of the process, as each side is allowed to strike a total of 10 jurors for any reason, in what are called peremptory challenges. Jurors struck for the judge's cause do not count toward those 10.

Trump's defense asked the judge to remove the five judges for cause, pointing to anti-Trump social media posts and trying to argue that the judges were unfairly biased against the former president.

While jurors in the case remain anonymous to the public, prosecutors were given the identities of the first group of 96 prospective jurors on Monday. This gave Trump's team an opportunity to mine their public social media posts, readying their challenges to the judge.

Todd Blanch, the former president's attorney, questioned the jurors, asking each one what they thought of Trump outside of the case. He tried to argue before the judge that many of the jurors' responses that they had no opinion about Trump were inconsistent with their social media posts.

Merchan was generally skeptical, but he agreed on two points that jurors should be struck with. Someone posted “lock up” on Facebook when Trump was president.

Merchan didn't strike as to the three jurors: Trump's side used its peremptory challenges to remove them all anyway. After Tuesday, four pretrial challenges remain for both Trump's team and the district attorney's office.

Trump's courtroom behavior has put him once again — briefly — in hot water with a judge.

Trump was admonished for his behavior when Mercen brought one of the jurors separately to discuss his social media posts raised by Trump's team, in which he videotaped celebrations in New York. Joe Biden He won the 2020 election.

“Regardless of anyone's thoughts or politics, feelings or beliefs, I believe very strongly that a jury's job is to understand the facts of a trial and be the judge of those facts,” the judge said.

After the jury left the courtroom, Merson raised his voice and admonished Trump.

“Your client uttered audibly,” Mercen said to Blanche, raising his voice. “I will not intimidate any jurors in court.”

The moment passed without further discussion, and the judge expressed no concern about Trump's behavior when the jurors were brought in separately.

But it was a notable moment, as the judge had already been Expanded his vocal range In the case, Trump is barred from talking about witnesses and families, as well as the district attorney's office and court staff.

And the district attorney is asking a judge next week to acquit Trump of violating that gag order, with a $1,000 fine and a warning that future violations could lead to jail time.

That hearing will be possible next Tuesday, after the trial is over.

Attorneys from both sides had 30 minutes to question potential jurors, previewing how both sides approach the jury pool — and, ultimately, the jury in the case.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Stinglas led the jurors through the case while pointing out how prosecutors will appeal to the jury, noting that not all witnesses remember past events the same way and that witnesses may remember small details differently.

“Can you be realistic and not hold witnesses to unrealistic standards?” He asked the jury, asking someone to say if they couldn't agree.

He made it clear that some of the witnesses “have some edge,” describing them as a tabloid publisher, an adult movie star, and Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was convicted of federal crimes, including lying to Congress.

Steinglass asked jurors if they could approach a defendant's testimony with an open mind.

He also noted that Witnesses have written books, created podcasts and participated in documentaries.

While jurors can consider all of this in assessing a witness' credibility, he said, it's not the only thing they should consider.

“The question really is, as I keep saying, can you wait until you've heard not only the witness testimony, but the rest of the evidence in the case,” Steinklaus asked.

Meanwhile, Blanche spent all her time focusing on how the judges viewed Trump. He asked the jurors whether they had favorable or unfavorable opinions of the former president.

One man went back and forth with Blanche several times, while mostly refusing to share his views on Trump, saying his opinions don't matter in the courtroom and that he can take them apart.

“I'd say I'm a Democrat, so you go, but I'm going to walk over there and he's a defendant, and that's all he is,” the judge said.

Trump's team has been struck down by a judge over his social media posts.

One of the things Mercen emphasized this week is that the court schedule is fluid. But the judge hopes to complete jury selection this week.

After swearing in the seven jurors Tuesday, Merchan told them he hoped they could return next Monday for opening statements — but he stressed the schedule could always change and would stay in touch with the court.

He swore in a new panel of 96 jurors on Tuesday afternoon before spending the day removing them, saving time before they return Thursday morning.

Those jurors will go through the same process as the previous two days with the first group of 96 jurors. If the new panel feels they cannot be impartial or if there is a conflict between them, the hearing will be held first with the judge and then with the lawyers of both sides.

There was no guarantee of getting us to the full jury of 12 jurors and six expected alternates: only seven were selected from the first group of 96.

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