On Tuesday, April 16, 2024, the New York Post reported that there was an incident during jury selection in former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan. Judge Juan Merchan accused Trump of attempting to intimidate a potential juror while she was questioned about social media posts that were allegedly biased against Trump.

According to the report, the woman was called to the stand to address two Facebook posts that Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche claimed showed she held an “extraordinarily hostile” view of the former president. As she was answering questions at the lectern in the courtroom, Judge Merchan said Trump could be heard muttering and making gestures only 12 feet away from the juror. Merchan issued a stern warning, stating he would not tolerate any attempts to intimidate jurors in his courtroom.

The interaction occurred as lawyers on both sides were going through the process of “voir dire” – questioning potential jurors to determine if they could be impartial. Blanche was trying to get the woman removed from the jury pool, citing a video she posted that showed people celebrating in the street after Trump lost his reelection bid in 2020. However, the prosecutor argued it merely captured others celebrating from a distance.

The woman, a Department of Education employee from the Upper West Side, explained she had been moving her car for parking and saw people dancing, similar to the nightly cheers for healthcare workers during the pandemic. She insisted to the court she could be a fair juror. Ultimately, Judge Merchan rejected the defense’s attempt to dismiss her, finding her explanations of the posts to be reasonable.

Jury selection in Trump’s criminal trial for alleged falsification of business records related to hush money payments continues. Trump has criticized Judge Merchan’s handling of the case and claims the trial is being rushed. Seven jurors have already been chosen, with jury selection set to resume as attorneys work to select the main jury and alternates for the six-week trial starting next week.



Source: New York Post