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Seven jurors picked in Trump’s N.Y. trial as judge presses ahead

NEW
YORK

The
judge
overseeing
former
president
Donald
Trump’s
criminal
trial
in
Manhattan
said
opening
statements
could
begin
as
soon
as
Monday,
as
the
jury
selection
process
sped
up
and
Trump
got
an
earful
from
the
people
who
might
soon
decide
his
fate.

Lawyers
for
Trump
repeatedly
argued
that
old
social
media
posts
by
many
of
the
prospective
jurors
or
their
friends
showed
that
they
were
not
being
forthcoming
about
their
animosity
toward
him,
while
prosecutors
argued
that
old
dumb
jokes
on
the
internet
were
not
a
cause
to
dismiss
someone
from
the
panel.

Trump,
the
likely
Republican
nominee
for
president
in
the
November
election,
spent
hours
Tuesday
listening
to
potential
jurors
offer
their
opinions
of
him

some
blunt,
some
guarded,
and
some
just
funny.

By
the
end
of
the
day,
seven
people
had
been
sworn
in
as
jurors

more
than
a
third
of
the
total
number
of
people
that
will
be
needed
to
hold
a
trial
with
a
full
jury
and
six
alternates.

If
New
York
Supreme
Court
Justice
Juan
Merchan
can
stick
to
that
pace,
the
first
criminal
trial
of
a
former
U.S.
president
will
be
fully
underway
in
less
than
a
week

a
potential
turning
point
for
Trump’s
campaign
to
return
to
the
White
House.

Trump
is
charged
with
34
counts
of
falsifying
business
records.
Manhattan
District
Attorney
Alvin
Bragg
says
Trump
orchestrated
a
scheme
before
the
2016
election
to
pay
off
an
adult
film
actress
to
keep
her
quiet
about
a
sexual
liaison
with
him
years
earlier,
and
then
created
a
false
paper
trail
to
hide
the
true
purpose
and
source
of
the
payment.

The
court
will
need
to
find
another
dozen
or
so
panelists
to
sit
in
judgment
of
Trump,
which
will
mean
more
chances
for
potential
jurors
to
opine
on
the
pugilistic
politician.
Merchan
has
ordered
that
the
names
of
the
prospective
jurors
remain
confidential,
although
the
prosecutors
and
defense
lawyers
are
made
aware
of
their
names.

“He
stirs
the
pot,
he
speaks
his
mind,”
said
one
potential
juror,
a
woman
who
works
at
a
senior
care
facility.
“You
can’t
judge
him
because
he
speaks
his
mind.”

Pressed
by
Trump
lawyer
Todd
Blanche
on
what
she
thought
of
Trump’s
outspoken
nature,
she
laughed
and
said,
“Come
on,
what
can
you
say
about
that?
If
I
told
you
all
the
time
what
I
thought
about
people

I
want
to
say
some
things
to
people
but
my
mama
said
be
nice.”

Blanche
questioned
the
prospective
juror
as
the
selection
process
began
focusing
more
closely
on
each
potential
panelist’s
views
about
him.
Trump’s
defense
team
is
worried
about
trying
to
assemble
a
jury
from
heavily
Democratic
Manhattan,
where
he
is
unpopular.

Many
potential
jurors
who
made
it
through
the
initial
screening
insisted
that
they
could
be
fair,
and
some
of
them
openly
resisted
stating
what
their
political
views
were,
despite
being
pressed
repeatedly
by
Blanche.

One
potential
juror
questioned
Tuesday
said
he
was
originally
from
Mexico
but
took
an
oath
to
become
a
U.S.
citizen
in
2017

the
same
year
Trump
was
sworn
into
office.
Asked
how
that
might
affect
his
view
of
the
case,
the
man
said
it
would
not.

“Feelings
are
not
facts,”
he
said.
“I’m
very
grateful
to
be
an
American
and
that
happened
on
the
first
year
that
he
was
president.”

Another
prospective
juror,
a
woman
with
black
glasses,
became
animated
discussing
how
Trump,
like
any
criminal
defendant,
has
a
right
not
to
testify
if
he
doesn’t
want
to.

“If
he
decides
not
to
speak

that’s
your
right,
you
can’t
presume
that
makes
him
guilty,”
she
said,
waving
her
hand
for
emphasis.
The
prosecutor,
she
said,
is
“the
one
that
has
to
present
those
facts
and
prove
them,
but
as
I
said,
he
has
the
right
not
to
say
them.”

At
the
end
of
her
comments,
Blanche
smiled
and
said,
“I
don’t
think
I
could
have
said
it
better
myself.”

Trump’s
legal
team
seized
on
social
media
posts
tied
to
some
prospective
jurors
that
the
defense
lawyers
said
showed
that
those
people
could
not
be
impartial.

One
prospective
juror
had
posted,
years
earlier,
“Good
news!!
Trump
lost
his
court
battle
on
his
unlawful
travel
ban!!!”
New
York
Supreme
Court
Justice
Juan
Merchan
said
that
if
the
juror
had
stopped
there,
there
would
not
be
a
problem,
but
the
post
went
on
to
say:
“Get
him
out,
and
lock
him
up.”
The
judge
dismissed
that
potential
juror
for
cause

one
of
two
jurors
the
judge
decided
Tuesday
afternoon
should
not
be
on
the
panel.

Another
woman
in
the
jury
pool
was
asked
about
a
video
she
posted
to
social
media
after
the
2020
election,
which
showed
people
in
upper
Manhattan
celebrating
the
results.

The
juror
said
she
happened
to
see
the
celebrations
while
parking
her
car,
and
recorded
it
for
posterity,
and
did
not
believe
it
would
affect
her
judgment
in
the
case.

“Regardless
of
my
thoughts
about
anyone
or
anything
or
political
feelings
or
convictions,”
she
said,
“the
job
of
a
juror
is
to
understand
the
facts
of
a
trial
and
to
be
the
judge
of
those
facts.”

Blanche
argued
she
should
be
dismissed
for
cause,
calling
her
Facebook
posts
“extraordinarily
hostile,”
but
the
judge
disagreed,
saying
she
had
provided
what
he
believed
was
a
reasonable
explanation.

The
defense
challenged
a
potential
juror
from
the
Upper
West
Side
over
online
posts
made
or
shared
by
her
husband
in
2016,
including
one
that
had
a
theme
of
the
comic
book
heroes
the
Avengers
uniting
against
Trump.

Prosecutor
Joshua
Steinglass
argued
that
Trump’s
lawyers
were
making
too
much
of
old
social
media
posts.
“People
post
things
on
social
media

that
seem
to
be
funny
at
the
time,
and
that’s
not
necessarily
as
weighty
as
people
think
it
is,”
he
said.

The
judge
agreed.
“If
this
is
the
worst
thing
that
you’re
able
to
find
about
this
juror,”
Merchan
said,
it
gave
him
more
confidence
in
her
ability
to
be
fair
and
impartial.

One
potential
juror
questioned
about
her
social
media
posts
said
they
were
years
old
and
she
had
stopped
posting
about
politics.

“It
got
too
vitriolic
for
me,”
she
said.
“I
learned
a
good
lesson.”
She
said
that
she
had
trouble
sleeping
the
night
before,
thinking
about
the
significance
of
the
case,
but
insisted
she
knew
she
could
be
fair.

“This
is
like
a
big
deal
in
the
grander
scheme
of
things,”
she
said.

One
potential
juror
said
she
wasn’t
particularly
interested
in
politics
but
added:
“Obviously,
I
know
about
President
Trump.
I’m
a
female.”

When
Blanche
asked
what
she
meant
by
that,
she
answered:
“I
know
that
there
have
been
opinions
on
how
he
doesn’t
treat
females
correctly,
stuff
like
that.
I
honestly
don’t
know
the
story.
So
I
don’t
have
a
view
on
it.”

Another
potential
juror,
a
woman
who
works
in
cybersecurity,
answered
a
question
about
whether
she
had
close
friends
who
were
in
the
legal
profession,
by
saying
she
“dated
a
lawyer
for
a
while.
It
ended
fine.”
As
some
in
the
courtroom
laughed,
the
woman
added,
“Sorry,
lawyers.”

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