Two Jurors Selected for Trump’s Historic Criminal Trial Excused

Fri Apr 19 2024
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NEW YORK, United States: Two jurors selected for Donald Trump’s historic criminal trial were excused Thursday as defence attorneys and prosecutors struggled to select jury to sit in judgment of the Republican presidential hopeful.

Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the blockbuster case of the deeply polarizing former US president in New York, is hoping to find 12 jurors and six alternates by the end of the week and have opening arguments on Monday.

But on Thursday, the proceedings suffered a setback as two already-chosen jurors were excused — one following doubts about the accuracy of some of his answers during questioning and the other over concerns her identity has been revealed.

Trump, 77, is seeking to recapture the White House in November. He accused of falsifying business records on the eve of his 2016 election victory to cover up a sexual relationship with a porn star. He has pleaded not guilty.

Seven jurors had been selected as of Tuesday but that number fell to five today following the release of the two panel members who had already been sworn in.

Judge Merchan, in order to protect the anonymity of the New Yorkers randomly selected for jury service, asked reporters Thursday to stop providing a physical description of potential jurors and not identify where they work.

A unanimous ruling will be required to convict the former president as his attorneys and prosecutors are subjecting prospective jurors to intensive questioning while seeking to fashion a panel to their liking.

Potential jurors are facing questions, for example, about political donations, their media consumption, education and whether they have ever attended a pro- or anti-Trump rally.

About 50 percent of the first batch of 96 jurors ushered into the courtroom Thursday were immediately excused after stating they would be unable to be fair and impartial in a case involving one of the most famous and controversial men in the country.

The criminal trial is the first ever for a former US president and comes as the republican is taking on Democratic President Joe Biden in a bid to make a shock return to the White House in November. The trial of the former president is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Trump faces three other criminal cases, including on far more serious charges of attempting to overturn his election loss to Biden in 2020, but these have been repeatedly delayed.

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