Trump New York hush money criminal trial

Trump New York hush money criminal trial


9:26 a.m. ET, April 16, 2024

Why picking a jury in Trump’s hush money trial is a big challenge

Judge Juan Merchan’s courtroom sits empty between proceedings, Tuesday, March 12, in New York.

Seth Wenig/AP

Choosing a jury for Donald Trump’s hush money criminal trial in New York is shaping up to be no easy task when the defendant is a former president who has been at the center of the US political world for nearly 10 years now and a figure in the New York tabloids going back decades.

The jury of 12, along with six alternates, will be chosen from hundreds of New Yorkers after an exhaustive jury selection process that could stretch beyond the first week of the trial.

“The problem for both Donald Trump’s attorneys and the prosecution’s attorneys is they’ve got to figure out how to pick a jury for the case who are neutral — and good luck,” said Steve Tuholski, a partner at Delphi Litigation Strategies who works on witness training and jury selection. “I can’t imagine there are many people, especially in New York, that haven’t made up their mind one way or the other about whether he’s a snake or the Messiah. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.”

What Trump attorneys would be looking for: They will be looking for jurors who are sympathetic to Trump, of course — but also for anyone who might be an “independent thinker,” willing to stand alone and let a jury hang, said Karen Friedman Agnifilo, a CNN legal analyst and former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. A unanimous verdict is required for conviction.

What the District Attorney’s office would look for: They will be trying to find jurors who are productive, constructive people who have to make decisions regularly and are capable of judging credibility, Agniflio said, criteria that could cover both office managers as well as parents.

CNN’s Kara Scannell, Kristen Holmes and Lauren Del Valle contributed reporting.


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