Jury selection begins in Donald Trump’s history-making hush money trial

(15 Apr 2024)

Washington – 12 April 2024
1. SOUNDBITE (English) Eric Tucker, The Associated Press:
"The hush money trial of Donald Trump in New York City has begun. The first big hurdle for prosecutors and defense lawyers will be to pick a jury. And that is no small task given Donald Trump’s notoriety in the city and in the country. You’re going to be talking about a jury pool that is going to be very familiar with the fact that he was once president and with the fact that he is running again in 2024. In order to weed out potential biases, we’re going to see jurors over the next several days brought into the courtroom, they’re going to be questioned. We’re looking for a jury of 12 plus six alternates. One of the things that’s really notable is that the jurors will not be asked about their political allegiances, whether they’re a Democrat, whether they’re a Republican, who they’ve voted for. But they will be asked a series of questions that are designed to determine whether they have any biases either for or against Donald Trump that might call into question their neutrality."
Former President Donald Trump arrived Monday at a New York court for the start of jury selection in his hush-money trial.

It’s a singular moment for American history as the first criminal trial of a former U.S. commander-in-chief. It’s also the first of Trump’s four indictments to go to trial.

Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for November’s election.

Against that backdrop, scores of ordinary citizens are due to be called into a cavernous room in a utilitarian courthouse to determine whether they can serve, fairly and impartially, on the jury.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records as part of an alleged effort to keep salacious stories about his sex life from emerging during his 2016 campaign.

He says the stories were false, and he has called the case a sham designed to damage his current campaign.

Trump’s lawyers maintain that the jury pool in overwhelmingly Democratic Manhattan has been tainted by negative publicity about Trump and that the case should be moved elsewhere.

An appeals judge turned down an emergency request to delay the trial while the change-of-venue request goes to a group of appellate judges, who are set to consider it in the coming weeks.

Manhattan prosecutors have countered that a lot of the publicity stems from Trump’s own comments and that questioning will tease out whether prospective jurors can put aside any preconceptions they may have. There’s no reason, prosecutors said, to think that 12 fair and impartial people can’t be found amid Manhattan’s roughly 1.4 million adult residents.

The process of choosing those 12, plus six alternates, will begin with scores of people filing into the judge’s courtroom. They will be known only by number, as he has ordered their names to be kept secret from everyone except prosecutors, Trump and their legal teams.

After hearing some basics about the case and jury service, the prospective jurors will be asked to raise hands if they believe they cannot serve or be fair and impartial. Those who do so will be excused, according to the judge’s filing last week.

The rest will be eligible for questioning. The 42 preapproved, sometimes multi-pronged queries include background basics but also reflect the uniqueness of the case.


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Author: admin