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12 jurors have been seated in Donald Trump's hush money trial

A New York judge dismissed two jurors before seating a panel of 12, leaving the court still in need of five alternate jurors.
Trump hush money trial resumes with juror asking to be excused
Posted at 6:26 AM, Apr 18, 2024

Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump's New York hush money trial. 

Earlier in Thursday's proceedings, there were some speed bumps in jury selection as Judge Juan Merchan dismissed two of the seven jurors previously seated. Despite this, eventually, a total of 12 jurors were seated, including seven men and five women. While one alternate juror was also seated, the court is still in need of five additional alternate jurors, who are expected to be selected on Friday. 

Jurors' names will be kept confidential. 

Juror No. 2 was dismissed after she called the court expressing concerns about whether she could be fair and impartial. 

She said that she “definitely has concerns now," including about what has been reported about her publicly. She said friends, colleagues and family told her that she had been identified as a potential juror. The identities of jurors are supposed to remain confidential. 

But some details, such as the woman's occupation, were known publicly. 

Merchan said that the case lost a good juror, which had Josh Steinglass, a member of the prosecution, asking whether jurors should be required to provide job info. Trump's legal team objected to the suggestion. 

Merchan said he agreed with Trump's defense that prospective jurors' information is important. He directed the press not to report answers given by potential jurors. 

On jurors' questionnaires, they are asked about their current and previous employers. Those answers will be redacted, Merchan said. 

Later Thursday morning, Merchan dismissed juror No. 4 after questions arose over answers provided about whether they or anyone close to them had ever been arrested. Steinglass said that prosecutors discovered an article stating that the juror was arrested for "tearing down political advertisements." They also discovered that the juror's wife was previously involved in a corruption inquiry. 

The decision to dismiss the juror came after a lengthy discussion between prosecutors, Trump's defense and Merchan. 

SEE MORE: 1 in 3 Americans think Trump acted illegally in hush money case

The jury consists of people of varying ages and socioeconomic statuses. Two of the jurors have law degrees, one is a teacher, and another is a recent college graduate who now works for Disney. Another works in sales. 

On Thursday, 96 jurors were brought in for questioning. Of those, 48 were immediately excused because they said they could not be fair. An additional nine potential jurors were dismissed for other reasons. 

The jurors' questionnaire 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.  

Meanwhile, the defense wanted to know who the first three witnesses are for the prosecution, but the district attorney says that while sharing that information is a courtesy they usually extend, they don't trust the former president to not share the witness list, even when the defense has stated that he won't. Merchan agreed with the district attorney and denied the request to share that information with Trump. 

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

Following the proceedings on Thursday, Trump spoke to journalists outside the court and continued his rhetoric that the trial is "very unfair" and that the case is "ridiculous." 

The courtroom was closed on Wednesday, giving Trump a day off from the trial. He spent Wednesday meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda. According to a readout from the Trump campaign, the two discussed defense spending among NATO nations and the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

The trial is expected to start Monday with opening statements, but there will be half-days on Monday and Tuesday for Passover.

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