Trump’s hush-money trial: The jury’s missing

Since being a jury member demands pre-trial impartiality, Americans drawn from a local sample by the Manhattan court in New York are having trouble identifying themselves as neutral on Trump.
Since being a jury member demands pre-trial impartiality, Americans drawn from a local sample by the Manhattan court in New York are having trouble identifying themselves as neutral on Trump.

Summary

  • On the first day of the New York court's hunt for jurors, at least 50 New Yorkers pleaded an inability to be impartial. Polarized times are to blame.

Polarized times bring new judicial challenges. Consider the difficulty faced by the US judiciary in selecting a jury for one of former president Donald Trump’s many trials, this one for whether he falsified business records to cover up hush money paid in 2016 to a former adult-film performer. 

Since being a jury member demands pre-trial impartiality, Americans drawn from a local sample by the Manhattan court in New York are having trouble identifying themselves as neutral on Trump. On the first day of the court’s hunt for jurors, at least 50 individuals reportedly pleaded an inability to be impartial. They were excused, with the result that no juror has been picked so far and it’s unclear how long this process will take. 

As Trump’s electoral prospects are thought to be bright regardless of his legal run-ins, at least partly because his backers on the right are enthusiastic while his rival US President Joe Biden’s base on the left seems relatively iffy about him, this trial may make no difference to who wins the White House in November. But the court’s juror search highlights a flaw in the US system of reliance on jury trials even for the rich, famous and powerful.

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