Trump N.Y. hush-money case: Seven jurors picked for trial that could start next week

By Chris Benson
Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of criminal proceedings on the second day of jury selection at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Tuesday. Trump is facing 34 felony criminal charges alleging he falsified business records to cover up a sex scandal during the 2016 campaign. Pool Photo by Michael M. Santiago/UPI
1 of 4 | Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of criminal proceedings on the second day of jury selection at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Tuesday. Trump is facing 34 felony criminal charges alleging he falsified business records to cover up a sex scandal during the 2016 campaign. Pool Photo by Michael M. Santiago/UPI | License Photo

April 16 (UPI) -- Seven jurors were sworn in Tuesday at the end of the second day of Donald Trump's New York trial over hush-money payments he allegedly made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Jury selection continued throughout the morning and into the afternoon in a Manhattan courtroom for the hush-money trial in which the former president has pleaded not guilty to all charges.


"We don't know exactly how long that will last," Judge Juan Merchan said about the ongoing jury selection, which had a fresh group of 96 other New York citizens shown into the courtroom after the first seven were seated.

Although the court is not in session on Wednesday, legal arguments could start as early as next week as court goes back into session on Thursday. Trump is required to be present at the trial, which could last as long as eight weeks.


Leaving court later Tuesday afternoon, Trump called Merchan "conflicted."

Multiple jurors have so far been dismissed over their inability to be impartial, political ideology or issues involving things they posted publicly on social media in the past.

On Monday, more than half of the 96 potential jurors that day were quickly dismissed, with many signifying that they would be unable to be "fair and impartial" in their deliberations about Trump.

A minimum of six more jurors plus six other alternate jurors still need to be selected, with nearly 80 other individuals already having been excused since Monday the day before when the jury selection began.

Of the seven jurors who can be partially identified, the jury foreperson is being described as a West Harlem married man, with no kids, who works in sales and was born in Ireland. The second juror is an Upper East Side resident who is an oncology nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering. The third juror is a younger male Chelsea resident and corporate lawyer originally from Oregon. Fourth, a Lower East Side resident originally from Puerto Rico, an IT consultant and a married grandfather. Fifth, a charter school teacher from Harlem. And sixth, a Chelsea resident and software developer for Disney who is not married and has no kids.


A Facebook post by one juror over Trump's 2020 election loss had prompted a comment from the former president. Merchan told Trump's defense attorney Todd Blanche that he "will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom. I want to make that crystal clear."

"Mr. Blanche, your client was audibly uttering something," the judge told Trump's lawyer. "He was audible, gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror. I won't tolerate that."

Arriving at court ahead of Tuesday's trial proceedings, Trump called the trial a "disgrace" while speaking to reporters outside Merchan's courtroom.

He had, Trump said, paid "a lawyer and he marked it down as a legal expense," saying "I didn't know" about the payment as he spoke about why he believes he did nothing wrong.

He added that, instead of being on the campaign trail in "Pennsylvania, in Florida, in many other states," he now must be in court because, he falsely said, President Joe Biden is bringing charges against him.

"This is all coming from the White House, because the guy can't put two sentences together. He can't campaign, he's using this in order to try to win an election, and it's not working that way," Trump said.


Trump is accused of authorizing hush-money payments totaling $130,000 to the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in an attempt to cover up an alleged affair. He also is charged with allegedly falsifying records to hide the payments made when he campaigned for the presidency in 2016 and into his first term as president.

According to reports, by early Tuesday afternoon Trump had signed a form to waive his own right to be present at sidebars -- which are meetings between legal teams of both the prosecution and defense to discuss non-public issues in the case.

As jury selection got underway Tuesday morning for its second day, a prosecutor from the district attorney's office told potential jurors: "Everyone and their mother has an opinion about this case, and what the right outcome should be," as he explained the court's expectation that jurors remain open-minded and not discuss details of the case with any other person.

Before 12 p.m. local time that day, nine of the 23 potential jurors had identified TikTok as a source of news during juror questioning on social media and online-related activities, and all faced questions about their overall thoughts and feelings about Trump, the ongoing election and the former president's multiple legal trials.


One potential juror on Tuesday was excused from jury duty when he said that his ability to be impartial was "probably going to be tough," noting his Texas roots and a circle of friends whom he said identify as registered Republican voters.

Likewise, multiple other likely jurors had given similar sentiments of possible bias on both the Democrat and Republican sides.

"A lot of people tend to intellectually slant there could be some unconscious bias," the dismissed potential juror, an accounting firm partner who was married and had no children, said to Merchan without offering proof of his beliefs.

According to election website Ballotpedia, Democrats are the largest share of registered voters in the United States, representing 38.35% of the electorate. Republicans make up 30.32% of registered voters.

The second day of the former president's hush-money trial also happened the same day the Supreme Court heard a separate case on a Jan. 6 rioter's obstruction challenge, and that case could have possible legal ramifications for Trump, as well.

On Monday, the prosecution had also asked Merchan to sanction Trump over an alleged gag order violation.

Next week, Merchan is expected to rule on the gag order sanction request that seeks for Trump to be fined $1,000 for each of the three posts the prosecution claims allegedly violates Merchan's gag order. An April 24 hearing over the request was set but moved by Merchan up a day to April 23, which happens to be the same day as the Pennsylvania primary election.


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