Trump jurors to be asked if they attend rallies, follow him on social media

Trump jurors to be asked if they attend rallies, follow him on social media
Trump jurors to be asked if they attend rallies, follow him on social media

Hello and welcome to the details of jurors to be asked if they attend rallies, follow him on social media and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Hyatt Regency in Green Bay, Wisconsin April 2, 2024. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, April 9 — Potential jurors in next week’s hush money trial of Donald Trump will be asked whether they have ever attended a rally in support of or opposition to the former president.

These questions are among those that will be asked of a group of randomly selected New Yorkers who will serve as jurors at the first ever criminal trial of an ex-president.

Trump faces 34 counts of allegedly falsifying business records for paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election to cover up a sexual encounter.

Jury selection for the blockbuster trial is to begin in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday, and hundreds of residents have received summons to appear in court.

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Trump’s lawyers have argued that the former president cannot get a fair trial in New York, but they lost a last-ditch bid on Monday to delay the start of the trial while they file a motion seeking a change of venue.

Twelve jurors and up to six alternates will be picked to hear the case, which is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Their verdict must be unanimous, and both prosecutors and Trump’s attorneys will be seeking to ferret out the political leanings of potential jurors to fashion a panel to their liking.

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New Yorkers voted overwhelmingly for Democrats Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in 2016 and 2020 respectively, and the Republican Trump is a polarizing figure in the Big Apple.

The seven-page jury questionnaire agreed upon by defence attorneys and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg asks jurors basic questions such as their employment, marital status and hobbies before delving into more politically sensitive areas.

“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump, or the fact that he is a current candidate for president that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?” is one of the questions.

Potential jurors are also asked if they follow Trump on social media or if they have attended rallies or campaign events in support of or opposition to the former president.

They will also be asked whether they support right-wing extremist groups such as the QAnon movement, the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers or the left-wing Antifa.

‘Blank slates’

The 77-year-old Republican presidential candidate has repeatedly denounced the case as a political witch hunt brought by Democrats to derail his chances of recapturing the White House in November.

After the jurors respond to the questionnaire they will undergo a further screening process known as “voir dire” during which they will be questioned by prosecutors and defence attorneys.

Trump’s lawyers have tried — and failed — to delay the trial on the grounds that the New York jury pool has been exposed to “huge amounts of biased and unfair media coverage.”

“Many of the potential jurors already wrongfully believe that President Trump is guilty,” they complained to Judge Juan Merchan, who will preside over the case.

Bragg, the district attorney, brushed aside the claim.

“Given the sheer size of New York County, it is absurd for defendant to assert that it will be impossible or even impractical to find a dozen fair and impartial jurors, plus alternates, among more than a million people,” Bragg said.

Merchan has already ruled that the names of the jury members will be shielded from the public and warned Trump that if he violates a gag order by attacking witnesses, court staff or their families he may also withhold their identities from his lawyers.

Such a move would handicap Trump’s defence by limiting the amount of publicly available information his attorneys could research about a prospective juror.

Leslie Ellis, a veteran jury consultant and founder of The Caissa Group, said that even in the case of such a high-profile figure as Trump there will be some potential jurors who profess not to know much about the case.

“People are often surprised at the number of people who don’t really pay that much attention to the news and don’t really pay that much attention to politics,” Ellis said.

“Most of them are probably telling the truth and they really will be blank slates.” — AFP

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