All 12 jurors seated for Donald Trump's hush-money trial

Opening statements in historic case could begin as early as next week

By Sheri Walsh & Doug Cunningham & Ehren Wynder
All 12 jurors in former President Donald Trump's New York criminal trial were seated Thursday after two of seven jurors previously empaneled were excused. Pool Photo by Timothy A. Clary/UPI
1 of 10 | All 12 jurors in former President Donald Trump's New York criminal trial were seated Thursday after two of seven jurors previously empaneled were excused. Pool Photo by Timothy A. Clary/UPI | License Photo

April 17 (UPI) -- All 12 jurors have been seated in former President Donald Trump's New York criminal trial after two were excused Thursday.

Judge Juan Merchan at 4:41 p.m. EST confirmed "we have our jury," ending a process that was expected to take up to two weeks, on top of a trial that could last six to eight weeks.


The court now is working to select the the six alternate jurors for the case. One already has been selected, a woman who grew up in England and Hong Kong.

Trump is charged with 34 felonies for allegedly falsifying business records to cover up payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in order to prevent the story from impacting Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. He has pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts.


Opening statements in the trial could begin as early as next week.

Two jurors were excused earlier Thursday. Merchan said the second excused juror expressed annoyance over his personal information being publicized.

Juror #2 was excused earlier Thursday. Juror #4 was excused Thursday afternoon as jury selection continued.

Juror #2 was excused after she had expressed concerns about her identity being made public. After Merchan excused her, he told reporters not to detail where prospective jurors work and he would block them from doing that.

"I have the legal authority to do it," Merchan said.

The veracity question came when a prosecutor informed Merchan that an article about a person with the same name as the fourth juror selected was arrested in the 1990s for removing political advertisements.

In addition to the two previously seated jurors being excused, a prospective juror born and raised in Italy was quickly excused after he said the media has presented a strong association between Trump and the scandal-plagued former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Prosecutor Chris Conroy also alleged that Trump had violated the judge's partial gag order in the case seven more times. Conroy wants those included in a hearing set for Tuesday on alleged violations of the gag order.


Conroy cited one post where Trump quoted a Fox News host suggesting that "undercover" liberal activists are lying to get on the jury.

Prosecutors are considering their sanction options for the alleged gag order violations.

According to pool reports from the courtroom early on Thursday, as the prospective jurors came into the courtroom, some seemed surprised see Trump sitting at the defendant's table. Trump appeared keenly attentive to the potential jurors.

On Wednesday, jury selection took a break so Merchan could attend to other cases. Proceedings are not scheduled on Wednesdays for the duration of the trial.

While Trump -- who is required to be in court every day -- has scheduled his campaign events for days off during the trial, he blasted the judge for not making an exception so he could attend his son's upcoming graduation.

"The judge, Juan Merchan, is preventing me from proudly attending my son's graduation. Seems very unfair, doesn't it?" Trump wrote Tuesday in a post on Truth Social. The judge hasn't yet made a final decision on whether to allow Trump to attend the graduation.

Since jury selection began this week, multiple jurors have been dismissed over their inability to be impartial or for their political ideology. Others were dismissed over social media posts, including one man who had posted "lock him up" while Trump was president.


A prosecutor from the district attorney's office told potential jurors that they must remain open-minded, as lawyers scoured potential jurors' social media sites.

"Everyone and their mother has an opinion about this case, and what the right outcome should be," as jurors were questioned about their source of news, feelings about Trump, the election and the former president's legal trials.

More than 50 potential jurors were dismissed on the first day alone.

The four men and three women who were ultimately sworn in as jurors Tuesday include a West Harlem married man with no kids who will serve as the jury foreperson. He was born in Ireland and works in sales.

The second juror is an oncology nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering and lives on the Upper East Side. The third juror is a corporate lawyer from Oregon who lives in Chelsea.

The fourth juror is an IT consultant and married grandfather who lives on the Lower East Side and is originally from Puerto Rico. The fifth juror is a charter school teacher from Harlem.

The sixth juror is a software developer for Disney who lives in Chelsea.

At one point during this week's jury selection, Merchan scolded Trump for gesturing toward a juror.


"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."

"I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom. I want to make that crystal clear," Merchan added.

Trump told reporters outside the courtroom Tuesday that the trial was a "disgrace" and that he should be on the campaign trail in "Pennsylvania, in Florida, in many other states."

Next week, Merchan is expected to rule on whether to sanction Trump for violating an expanded gag order. The prosecution is asking Trump be fined $1,000 each for three separate posts it claims were in violation.

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