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Trump jury selection continues; some prospective jurors dismissed

Over half of the 96 jurors brought in on Monday are no longer in the jury pool. More potential jurors are being questioned Tuesday.
Trump jury selection continues; some prospective jurors dismissed
Posted at 7:22 AM, Apr 16, 2024

Former President Donald Trump's New York hush money trial resumed on Tuesday with multiple jurors claiming they could not be impartial after initially saying they could be. After 96 prospective jurors were brought in Monday for questioning on the first day of the trial, only about three dozen remained in the jury pool at the end of the day. 

Trump faces 34 felony counts in a New York court for falsifying business records. 

The initial 96 potential jurors are among a potential 500 prospective jurors who could be considered for the trial. The goal is to find 12 jurors and six alternates who are fair and impartial. So far, no jurors have been seated.

On Monday, more than half of the 96 prospective jurors raised their hands when asked if they would not be fair and impartial. Those jurors were immediately released. 

On Tuesday, most potential jurors said they could remain impartial, with several stating that "no one is above the law." Several jurors, however, could not give a firm commitment as to whether they could be fair. Another juror was dismissed after telling the court his child has an upcoming wedding. 

Potential jurors were questioned by Judge Juan Merchan. They answered questions about their employment, what they do in their spare time, and where they get their news. The juror's questionnaire also included questions about whether they or a relative have worked for Trump, supported groups such as QAnon and Proud Boys, follow Trump on social media, donated to his campaign or attended a Trump rally. 

Prosecutors and the district's attorney office also posed questions to potential jurors on Tuesday. Prosecutors wanted to know if the burden of proof should be higher for a former president and whether someone could be held responsible for other people's crimes. 

Trump's attorneys wanted to know potential jurors' opinions on Trump unrelated to the case. 

SEE MORE: Manhattan court needs jurors for its criminal case against Trump

Before jurors were brought in on Monday, the two sides went over numerous motions, including whether Trump violated a gag order with social media posts he made involving the case. Prosecutors asked Merchan to impose a $3,000 fine on Trump. That motion will be considered during a hearing next week. 

"We know that from various posts he had made,” prosecutor Christopher Conroy said, according to a pool report of the hearing.  “We think it is important for the court to remind Mr. Trump is a criminal defendant."

Trump attorney Todd Blanche said that Trump did not violate the gag order and that he was "responding to salacious, repeated, vehement attacks by these witnesses." 

Once a jury is selected, prosecutors and Trump's defense can begin presenting evidence and calling witnesses. 

Prosecutor Alvin Bragg said in a court filing that Trump tried to conceal an "illegal scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election." Bragg has alleged that Trump falsified records in an effort to prevent damaging stories from emerging during the 2016 presidential campaign. Bragg says Trump falsified records to hide payments to attorney Michael Cohen for him to pay Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal and former doorman Dino Sajudin. 

Bragg says business records relating to the payments were falsified in order to disguise the conduct. 

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