On Saturday, June 8, 2024, Newsweek reported that Donald Trump’s supporters were pointing to the possibility of a mistrial in his criminal hush money case after Judge Juan Merchan flagged a social media post from a user claiming to be related to one of the jurors.

Judge Merchan, who presided over Trump’s trial where he was found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments made in 2016, sent a letter on Friday to prosecutors and Trump’s defense informing them of a comment left on the New York State Unified Court System’s Facebook page. The comment, left by a user under the name “Michael Anderson” and labeled as one week old, stated that their cousin who was a juror had said, “Trump is getting convicted.”

This raised speculation from some, including Trump himself who posted “MISTRIAL!” on his Truth Social platform twice on Saturday, that this could constitute juror misconduct and be grounds for a mistrial. However, legal experts cautioned against jumping to conclusions. Prominent attorneys and analysts like Jonathan Turley, Alan Dershowitz, and Joyce Vance stressed that more information was needed to verify the facts and circumstances around the post.

Cheryl Bader, a law professor at Fordham University, stated that for the social media post to have any meaningful impact, it would be necessary to verify that the post was made before the verdict was announced. Additionally, it would need to be established that the individual who made the post had a relationship with one of the jurors. She noted that while juror misconduct could potentially overturn a conviction, the defense bore the burden of proving that through concrete evidence, which this single post did not provide on its own.

Conservative activist Laura Loomer and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk both referred to the possibility of a mistrial, though Kirk qualified that nothing had been proven yet. Democratic Florida state attorney Dave Aronberg disputed this, stating the profile making the post had already been debunked as belonging to an admitted online troll.

The judge wisely decided to hold a future hearing on the record to investigate the matter further, according to analysts. If the individual posting turned out to have no real connection or inside information, it could be dismissed, but any valid issues around potential jury tampering would be addressed transparently. For now, the validity and implications of the social media post remain unclear.



Source: Newsweek