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Saturday May 18, 2024

Trump’s hush money criminal trial loses two jurors, five remain

By Reuters
April 19, 2024
Former US president Donald Trump. — AFP
Former US president Donald Trump. — AFP 

NEW YORK: The judge overseeing former US president Donald Trump’s criminal trial dismissed two jurors on Thursday, as lawyers struggled to assemble a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates for one of the most high-profile trials in American history.

Justice Juan Merchan excused one juror after prosecutors said he may not have disclosed prior brushes with the law. Merchan did not specify why he dismissed that juror.

The judge had previously excused a juror who said she felt intimidated because some personal information had been made public. She said family, friends and colleagues had contacted her after deducing she was on the jury.

“I don’t believe at this point that I can be fair and unbiased, and let the outside influences not affect my decision-making in the courtroom,” the juror said.

The two removals mean that five people so far have been selected for the jury.

The decisions highlighted the extraordinary pressures around the first criminal trial ever of a former US president.

Trump is one of the most controversial figures in American politics, and roughly half of the 192 potential jurors screened so far in heavily Democratic Manhattan have been dismissed after saying they could not impartially assess his guilt or innocence.