Five big takeaways from Day 3 of Trump’s hush money trial

Written by on April 19, 2024

Former President Donald Trump, flanked by attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove, arrives at Manhattan criminal court with his legal team as jury selection continues in New York, NY on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Twelve jurors have been seated in the historic criminal hush money trial of former President Donald Trump.

After a setback in the morning resulting in the dismissal of two jurors who were seated on Tuesday, lawyers for both sides quickly exhausted their strikes Thursday and landed on a jury of seven men and five women to sit in judgment of the former president.

Jury selection is scheduled to resume on Friday to find the remaining five alternate jurors for the case.

Opening statements are expected as early as Monday.

Here are the five top takeaways from Day 3 of the trial:

Twelve jurors, one alternate selected after three days

A full jury of 12 members was seated late Thursday, in addition to one alternate juror.

“We have our jury,” Judge Merchan said.

A breakdown of the jurors is as follows:

Juror No. 1: Male, in Sales [Foreperson]

Juror No. 2: Male, Investment Banker

Juror No. 3: Male, Attorney

Juror No. 4: Male, Security Engineer

Juror No. 5: Female, Teacher

Juror No. 6: Female, Software Engineer

Juror No. 7: Male, Attorney

Juror No. 8: Male, Retired Wealth Manager

Juror No. 9: Female, Speech Therapist

Juror No. 10: Male, works for Eyewear Company

Juror No. 11: Female, Product Development Manager

Juror No. 12: Female, Physical Therapist

Alternate No. 1: Female, Analyst for Asset Manager

Trump hears differing views of his personality

Former President Trump, sitting at the defense table, spent the afternoon listening to opposing reviews of his presidency and character.

First, a female juror who was seated for the trial bluntly said, “I don’t like his persona,” when asked if she has any strong opinions about him.

“The way he presents himself in public … he is just very selfish and self-serving,” the juror said. “So, I don’t really appreciate that in any public servant. I don’t know him as a person … but just how he is in public, and how he carries himself in public, it’s not my cup of tea.”

Trump seemed to be leaning forward listening carefully to her answer, at times fidgeting. He leaned back and crossed his arms when she finished.

Then, a male prospective juror took the mic and said he found Trump “pretty amazing.”

“He was a businessman in New York. He forged his way,” the prospective juror said. “He kind of made history … I’m impressed with that.”

Trump leaned forward again, listening to this new answer.

“I started as an entrepreneur as well … made a lot of things happen,” the prospective juror said. “Just like he has.”

A lifelong New Yorker who works in law enforcement, he said that his love of hockey also made him feel warmly toward Trump.

“As a wannabe hockey player, I still thank him for fixing that Wollman Rink that nobody could fix,” he said of the ice skating rink in Central Park that Trump had refurbished in the 1980s.

The male juror did not make it onto the jury but the female one did. Trump was asked about her as he left the courtroom on Thursday.

“The juror called you selfish. How does that make you feel?” a reporter asked, but Trump didn’t respond.

Two jurors had to be replaced

Court began with a rocky start Thursday morning after Judge Merchan said the court received a call from originally-seated Juror No. 2, who conveyed that “after sleeping on it overnight, she had concerns” about serving on the case.

She told Merchan she “definitely has concerns now” regarding what has been reported about her publicly. She said she received questions about her identity after colleagues and family said she may have been identified.

“I don’t believe at this point that I can be fair and unbiased,” the juror said, who was ultimately dismissed.

Another juror was excused after prosecutors expressed concerns about a past incident involving removing political posters and an alleged fraud related to his wife.

Prosecutors again accuse Trump of violating limited gag order

On Thursday, prosecutors accused Trump of more violations of the limited gag order in the case.

Since they last mentioned the issue earlier this week, Trump violated the gag order seven more times, prosecutors claimed.

“It’s ridiculous, it has to stop,” they said. “We are asking you to hold the defendant in contempt.”

Prosecutors indicated they could seek harsher penalties than just fines, saying they are still “considering their options.”

Trump attorney Emile Bove pushed back, saying the posts “don’t establish there were any willful violations.”

A hearing on the issue is set for next week.

Citing concerns, prosecutors mum on identity of first witnesses

Prosecutors are keeping their cards close regarding who the first witnesses called at trial will be.

When defense attorney Todd Blanche requested the names of the first three state witnesses, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass declined to provide the name of the first planned witnesses following opening statements.

“Mr. Trump has been tweeting about the witnesses,” Steinglass said. “We are not telling you who the witnesses are.”

Blanche attempted to ease that concern by vowing that the former president would not post about the likely witnesses.

“I don’t think you can make that representation,” Judge Merchan said.

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