Why does Donald Trump’s hush-money trial suddenly lose two jurors? - Hindustan Times
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Why does Donald Trump’s hush-money trial suddenly lose two jurors?

Apr 19, 2024 12:43 AM IST

Dismissed jurors express bias concerns and fascination with Donald Trump. Prosecutors question credibility.

On Thursday, two jurors were excused from former US President Donald Trump's hush-money trial who had already been seated.

Former President Donald Trump speaks alongside attorney Todd Blanche as they return from a lunch break in his trial at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)(AP)
Former President Donald Trump speaks alongside attorney Todd Blanche as they return from a lunch break in his trial at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)(AP)

Why the jurors left?

One juror, a woman expressed concerns to the overseeing judge: “I definitely have concerns now, one of them especially being the aspects of my identity have already been out there in public,” she expressed.

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“Yesterday alone, I had friends, colleagues and family push things to my phone regarding questioning my identity as a juror. I don’t believe, at this point, I can be fair and unbiased.”

Justice Juan M. Merchan scolded and instructed reporters not to reveal where a prospective juror works to mitigate this. “The first thing she said was that she was intimidated by the press,” she said, and added, “We just lost what probably would have been a very good juror in this case.”

ALSO READ| Donald Trump steps into court for third day of hush-money trial amid ongoing jury selection

Another juror, a man from the Lower East Side, was also excused later that morning, though the exact reason for his dismissal was not immediately clear.

However, He said earlier that he found Trump “fascinating”.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass remarked, “Although we can’t confirm that it involves the juror in question, we did discover an article that a person with the same name had been arrested in the 1990s in Westchester for tearing down political advertisements.”

Prosecutors had earlier raised doubts about the credibility of his responses to questions about himself.

When asked if he believed he should have been dismissed, the man declined to give his name but stated, “Nope.” The juror also failed to answer when asked, “Have you, a relative, or a close friend ever been accused or convicted of committing a crime?”

Reporters are keeping their mouth shut and not revealing the jurors' name

Law enforcement officials and journalists believed in keeping prospective juror names confidential. Yet, little has been done to stop employers from disclosing names and other private information in this case.

The case centred on charges that the former president had defrauded by concealing documents, which were alleged to have proved that he had sexual affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

ALSO READ| Trump's Campaign pours liquid funds into his businesses amid mounting legal woes, experts warn

Justice Merchan had already expressed her intention to finalise jury composition this week, with opening arguments possibly beginning Monday.

As the number of standing jurors now has been cut down to five, both sides resort to replacing them as they select their extra jurors throughout the week. It will now feature 12 residents and up to six replacements.

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