The historic trial of Donald Trump resumed on Thursday, April 18, in New York, with the difficult selection of the jury, interrupted at the start of the hearing by a juror who finally threw in the towel in the face of what was at stake. While the Republican Party’s presidential candidate in November had just sat down in the courtroom, Judge Juan Merchan reopened the proceedings by immediately announcing that this New York citizen had finally expressed “her concerns on being fair and impartial”.

This juror, identified by the code B280, confirmed her fears, also saying she had been recognized by relatives, even though the jury is supposed to be anonymous to avoid pressure. In the process, the judge called on all media covering the trial to use “common sense” and avoid, for example, giving physical descriptions of the jurors. After this incident, the number of jurors was reduced from seven to six, out of twelve required, not counting the six alternates.

A short time later, another juror was removed after prosecutors raised questions about the accuracy of his answers during the selection process. He had said during interrogation that he had not been previously convicted – but during the hearing an article from the 1990s was shown in which a man with the same name had been arrested for tearing up political posters.

Donald Trump claimed Wednesday on his network, Truth Social, that he had just discovered that the number of juror challenges was limited, once again calling out the “witch hunt” orchestrated, according to him, by the administration of the Democratic president, Joe Biden. In fact, the prosecution and defense have already used seven of the ten authorized juror challenges.

Judge Juan Merchan said he hoped to conclude the jury empanelment process by Friday evening, which would allow opening arguments for the prosecution and defense to begin on Monday.

The lives of potential jurors scrutinized

The potential jurors, anonymous citizens plunged overnight into a historic affair, find their lives scrutinized. They must answer a long questionnaire on their profession, family situation, sources of information, centers of interest, and their opinion on Donald Trump, but also to even more detailed questions from the prosecution or the defense, which has tracked down any sign of possible bias against the defendants, particularly in their publications on social networks.

The first former president in the history of the United States to appear on criminal charges, Donald Trump is on trial in a case of hidden payments to buy the silence of a former porn star, Stormy Daniels, a few days before the 2016 election, which he won narrowly against the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Fraudulent maneuvers

More than three years after leaving the White House in chaos, Donald Trump theoretically faces a prison sentence. This would not prevent him from being a candidate in the presidential election on November 5, where he dreams of revenge on Joe Biden, but would project the campaign into the unknown.

If he were found not guilty, however, it would be a major success for the Republican candidate. Especially since he managed, through appeals, to postpone his three other criminal trials, two for illicit attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 election, and one for his supposedly casual handling of classified documents.

In the trial that began Monday, Donald Trump is charged with falsifying accounting documents from his company, the Trump Organization, which allegedly aimed to hide, under the guise of “legal fees”, the payment of $130,000 to Stormy Daniels by his personal attorney at the time, Michael Cohen. In exchange, the former X-rated movie star agreed to keep quiet about a sexual relationship with the billionaire in 2006. Donald Trump has always denied this relationship and his defense ensures that the payments were in the private sphere. But prosecutor Alvin Bragg intends to demonstrate that these are indeed fraudulent maneuvers to hide information from voters a few days before the vote.