HomeTop StoriesThe Trump jury's search turns to alternatives as opening statements draw closer

The Trump jury’s search turns to alternatives as opening statements draw closer

Next steps of the Trump trial after the full jury is seated

What happens now that Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial has a full jury?


The judge in former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York has said he wants opening statements in the case to be heard on Monday. To do that, he will have to seat five more alternate jurors on Friday.

Twelve jurors and one alternate were in the first three days of jury selection. During the trial, dozens of people were immediately excluded from consideration, saying they could not be impartial, and two seated jurors were excused after being sworn in. One said she worried about her ability to be impartial after people in her life found out she was a juror based on details reported about her in the press. Prosecutors charged another after discovering a possible decades-old arrest that was not disclosed during jury selection.

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The jurors and alternates who were sworn in were selected from two groups of 96 Manhattanites called for jury duty. About two dozen potential jurors remain under treatment in the second group. If the remaining five alternates from that group cannot be found, a third batch of 96 who were sworn in Thursday will be brought back to the courtroom.

The judge, Juan Merchan, indicated that if the remaining alternates are selected early enough Friday, he will also hold a hearing to determine the scope of topics prosecutors can raise if Trump decides to take a stand in his defense.

Prosecutors indicated in a filing made public Wednesday that they want to question Trump about a host of high-profile legal defeats to attack his credibility. The list includes a civil fraud verdict worth nearly half a billion dollars recently handed down in another New York court, a pair of unanimous civil federal jury verdicts finding him liable for the defamation and sexual abuse of writer E. Jean Carroll, violations of the gag order, and sanctions for what a judge concluded was a “frivolous, bad faith lawsuit” against Hillary Clinton.

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Trump’s lawyers have said they believe all of these issues should be left out of bounds in the case, which centers on reimbursements to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen for a “hush money” payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Prosecutors say Trump covered up the refunds to distance himself from the payment, days before the 2016 presidential election, which temporarily bought Daniels’ silence about an alleged affair. He has also denied having an affair.

Trump has entered a not guilty plea to 34 felony counts of falsifying corporate records. He has denied all allegations in the case.

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