Trump Trial Finally Has a Jury—After a Week of Hiccups

Photo by Curtis Means/Getty Images
Photo by Curtis Means/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s criminal trial is full steam ahead, with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office set to start presenting its case Monday before 18 jurors–a dozen on the panel and six alternates.

After a relentless, four-hour questioning session on Friday that screened 22 potential jurors, lawyers on both sides exhausted all of their legal challenges and ultimately settled on the five alternates who remained to be chosen.

Unlike most trials, which keep a couple of extra jurors present just in case one calls out sick, this high-profile court battle needs a deep bench to account for the overwhelming cloud of fear that hangs over the proceeding.

Jurors will determine whether the most divisive politician in the country committed a criminal coverup by paying Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep their extramarital affair a secret in the closing days of the 2016 election. But they must do that while trying to avoid potential threats from the increasingly enraged MAGA movement—which keeps getting stoked by Trump’s own incessant stream of violent rhetoric.

The five additions that filled up the remaining alternate seats include:

  • A married woman from Spain with adult children and no job who seemed particularly eager to spend the time serving as a juror in this case and said seemed to persuade concerns by lawyers on both sides when she said, “I don't watch the news.”

  • A martial arts enthusiast who does IT for Columbia University and said he believes Trump is being “treated fairly” in this case so far.

  • A married woman with two young kids who said that if Trump plead the fifth and remained silent in this case she would “not hold that against him.”

  • A married Texan who works at a clothing company and said she reads The New York Times.

  • A long time New Yorker who works at a construction company, is dating a police detective, and said she is subscribed to The New York Times—but really just to play its Spelling Bee game.

The final round of jury selection was a tad more contentious than the earlier ones, with the former president's lawyers scrambling to eliminate as many people as they could on the grounds that they had expressed anti-Trump sentiments on social media. Several had attended protests or celebrations against him—yet all asserted they could distance their personal antipathy for the man and focus squarely on hearing the evidence presented in court.

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