ANI Photo | Day-2 of Trump’s New York hush-money trial sees seven jurors selected

A swift pace of jury selection marked the second day of former President Donald Trump’s trial in New York, with seven jurors seated, bringing anticipation for the trial’s progression, Al Jazeera reported.
Amidst discussions on jury selection, which had initially hinted at potential weeks-long deliberations, Tuesday saw significant progress, with over a third of the needed jurors already chosen.
A total of 12 jurors and six alternates are required before the trial can proceed to opening arguments.
Trump faces 34 felony charges related to falsifying business records concerning hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, setting the stage for the jurors to assess and deliver a verdict, as reported by Al Jazeera.
However, Tuesday’s proceedings were underscored by reminders about the critical values of fairness, impartiality, and respect in the courtroom, directed towards both potential jurors and Trump himself.
This trial marks a historic moment as Trump becomes the first former US president to face criminal charges, amidst a series of indictments both at the state and federal levels.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg initially unveiled the New York charges in March 2023, with the trial commencing in earnest only on Monday, following months of preliminary procedures and delays.
Central to the prosecution’s argument is whether the hush money payments to Daniels constitute violations of state and federal election laws, revolving around allegations of an affair between Daniels and Trump, which he denies.
The jury selection process kicked off on Monday, with input from prosecutors, defence attorneys, and presiding Judge Juan Merchan on the potential jurors’ ability to impartially evaluate the case.
However, challenges emerged on the first day, with over half of the initial 96 jurors dismissed due to indications of bias towards the former president.
The subsequent day, Judge Merchan streamlined the process by inviting prospective jurors to voice any concerns about their suitability before completing a comprehensive questionnaire.
While some candidates were excused, others underwent scrutiny from both sides regarding their political affiliations and social media activity, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass emphasised the need for jurors to separate their personal views from their duty, acknowledging the significance of Trump’s status but urging impartiality.
Defence attorney Todd Blanche probed prospective jurors about their political leanings, highlighting the necessity of objectivity in a criminal case.
“Let’s talk about the obvious: The defendant in this case is both the former president and a candidate for that office. No one is suggesting that you can’t be a fair juror because you’ve heard of Donald Trump,” Steinglass said.
“We don’t expect you to have been living under a rock for the last eight years or the last 30 years.”
The courtroom witnessed moments of tension as Trump reacted visibly to certain jurors’ responses, prompting a rebuke from Judge Merchan over potential intimidation tactics.
Concerns about juror intimidation led to measures such as withholding prospective jurors’ identities from the public to safeguard against interference or reprisal, according to Al Jazeera.
By the end of Tuesday, seven jurors, each with their unique backgrounds and perspectives, were selected and sworn in, marking a significant step towards the trial’s progression.
Their diverse profiles included individuals from various professions and regions, each bringing a distinct perspective to the jury box.
With the rapid pace of jury selection, anticipation mounts for the trial to potentially commence arguments as early as next week, despite earlier estimates suggesting a six-week duration.
As 96 more prospective jurors await their turn, the courtroom braces for further deliberations in the days ahead, Al Jazeera reported.

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