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HomeNewsLawyers Select 12 Jurors in Trump Hush-Money Case

Lawyers Select 12 Jurors in Trump Hush-Money Case

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On Thursday, April 18, 2024, lawyers in Donald Trump’s hush-money case selected a 12-person jury in New York City. After both sides questioned close to 200 potential jurors about whether they could be fair and impartial, they agreed on the 12 selected. “We have our jury,” state Judge Juan Merchan said after they selected the 12th juror.

A picture of Trump during hush-money trial
Source; Pinterest

The lawyers also selected one alternate, with five more still to be picked. “I am hopeful we will finish tomorrow,” the judge said before he swore the jury in. The jurors will assess Trump’s guilt or innocence in a case stemming from a hush-money payment to a porn star.

Although the attorneys still need to select alternate jurors, Judge Merchan says the opening statements could begin Monday. If that happens, it will be the first criminal trial involving a former president. Earlier in the day, Merchan dismissed a juror who said she felt intimidated that some personal information was made public.

After dismissing her, Merchan chastised the media for reporting on some of the details of jurors’ appearances. He ordered the media not to report on prospective jurors’ physical descriptions. In addition, he ordered them to refrain from reporting their answers about where they currently work and where they used to work.

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ALSO READ: Republican Governor Says Supporting Trump “Doesn’t Make Sense”

“We just lost what probably would have been a very good juror for this case because of such reporting,” the judge said. Before the jury selection, Merchan had ordered that they keep the jury anonymous because of safety concerns. “It kind of defeats the purpose of an anonymous jury if people can be easily identified,” he said.

The judge also excused another juror after prosecutors said he may not have disclosed prior brushes with the law. Trump’s outsized public presence created unique problems during the jury selection process. Attorneys dismissed more than half of the first 196 jurors screened after saying they could not assess the evidence impartially.

POLL—Should the Government Increase Taxes on the Wealthy To Reduce Economic Inequality?

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Trump’s criticism of witnesses, prosecutors, the judge, and their relatives also sparked concerns about harassment. Consequently, Merchan imposed a partial gag order. The jury panel consists of seven men and five women. A retired wealth manager and a speech therapist were among the new additions the judge swore in on Thursday.

Furthermore, the new additions include a product development manager and a physical therapist. Those sworn in Tuesday, April 16, included a lawyer, a salesman, a teacher, and a software engineer. After the day’s court proceedings, Trump called the case against him “ridiculous.”

“I’m supposed to be in a lot of different places campaigning,” Trump said. “But I’ve been here all day on a trial that really is a very unfair trial.” The presumptive Republican nominee for president added, “And I’m sitting here for days now from morning till night. In that freezing room, freezing. Everybody was freezing.”

ALSO READ: Poll Shows Most Voters See Trump’s Hush Money Case as Serious

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Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records and has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to four years in prison if the court convicts him. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office alleges that Trump falsified business records to hide money he was paying Michael Cohen. 

Prosecutors claim Trump was paying his former attorney, Cohen, to reimburse him for the $130,000 he paid adult film actor Stormy Daniels. Daniels has claimed she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied any relationship with Daniels but acknowledged repaying Coh

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