Apr 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Dozens of potential Trump jurors excused after saying they couldn't be impartial

 Former U.S. President Donald Trump (C) appears with his legal team Todd Blanche, and Emil Bove (R) ahead of the start of jury selection at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 15, 2024 in New York City.

Former President Trump appears with his legal team Todd Blanche, and Emil Bove (R) at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 15 in New York City. Photo: Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty Images

More than half of the first group of prospective jurors for former President Trump's criminal trial said Monday that they could not hear the case fairly and were immediately dismissed, according to a pool report.

Why it matters: The rapid disqualification of at least 50 possible jurors underscores the difficult reality of finding a dozen New Yorkers to form the jury in one of the most high-profile cases in U.S. history.

Driving the news: At least nine additional jurors were excused after saying they could not serve for any other reason, leaving about 34 of the 96 potential jurors remaining from the first pool, per reporters inside the courtroom.

  • "I just couldn't do it," one prospective juror said in the hallway outside of the courtroom, per the pool.
  • Of the jurors who said they couldn't be fair or impartial in the case, over two dozen were white women, 1 Hispanic woman, and 4 women of Asian descent. Fourteen were white men and 1 man of Asian descent. Six other jurors were unknown.

State of play: The remaining prospective jurors from the first panel will fill out a questionnaire asking about their media consumption habits, where they live, whether they or a relative or close friend has ever volunteered for the Trump campaign and other questions.

  • Lawyers from both sides will then scrutinize the remaining candidates, including going through their social media and asking more personal questions to glean any biases.

The big picture: Hundreds of New Yorkers were called to the Manhattan courthouse on Monday for jury selection in Trump's criminal trial, a process that many legal experts warned would be difficult.

  • "You really don't want jurors who bring something to the table, other than the fact that they have a general understanding Trump was the president," Joshua Naftalis, a former federal prosecutor in New York and now a partner at Pallas, previously told Axios.

Go deeper: How celebrity lawyers would approach Trump's jury selection

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