May 20, 2024
As jury selection continues this week in the New York criminal hush money trial against Donald Trump, the former president’s attorneys are keeping a close eye on social media posts, and the memes, prospective jurors have posted to their feeds. On Tuesday, the defense team sifted through the social media accounts of prospective jurors and […]

As jury selection continues this week in the New York criminal hush money trial against Donald Trump, the former president’s attorneys are keeping a close eye on social media posts, and the memes, prospective jurors have posted to their feeds.

On Tuesday, the defense team sifted through the social media accounts of prospective jurors and their spouses, arguing that any negative posts about their client marked a clear showing of bias that should result in their disqualification. What they uncovered was a rabbit hole of old Facebook jokes and pre-2020s memes about the former president.

Former President Donald Trump talks to members of the media while visiting a bodega, Tuesday, April 16, 2024, whose owner was attacked last year in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

One prospective juror who was shelved on Tuesday was a man who shared an artificial-intelligence-generated clip of Trump saying, “I’m dumb as f***,” according to Josh Kovensky of Talking Points Memo, although the prospective juror suggested it was merely something he “reposted.” The judge still dismissed him.

NBC News politics reporter Allan Smith highlighted the reposting tendencies of another prospective juror during the trial, posting a transcript online of one humorous interaction between a potential juror and Trump attorney Todd Blanche.

“How about you, sir? Do you use any websites or any Facebook?” Blanche asked the man.

“Well, I’m a repost king,” the potential juror said. “So, I’ll see something that I thought was interesting and I’ll repost it.”

In the historic first trial against a former president taking place at the center of Manhattan, even a repost can be a disqualifying factor for a prospective juror depending on the rhetoric expressed in the online content in question.

Former President Donald Trump reacts as he enters Sanaa convenience store, Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Following the second day of the trial, Trump made an unusual stop at a local bodega where a man was stabbed to death, marking another unconventional event at a venue with a stark contrast to the lavish halls of Mar-a-Lago.

Seven jurors were sworn in on Tuesday at the dingy New York County Criminal Courthouse where Trump’s trial is taking place, including a foreperson who is originally from Ireland. The court only needs five more jurors and six alternates to be sworn in, and the trial is scheduled to pause every Wednesday until its conclusion.

Because Trump invoked his rights under New York state law to take part in the jury selection process, the former president was present for most of the questioning by his attorneys as they pursue an impartial jury.

Judge Juan Merchan at one point admonished Trump for “audibly” saying something in the direction of a juror when the person’s social media accounts were being discussed.

“I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom,” Merchan said. “I want to make this crystal clear.”

Trump on Wednesday took to his own social media platform, Truth Social, to rail against the selection process, saying he believed he was supposed to be given “unlimited” opportunities to strike potential jurors from selection.

“I thought STRIKES were supposed to be ‘unlimited’ when we were picking our jury? I was then told we only had 10, not nearly enough when we were purposely given the 2nd Worst Venue in the Country. Don’t worry, we have the First Worst also, as the Witch Hunt continues! ELECTION INTERFERENCE!” Trump posted.

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Under state law, the prosecutors and defense are allotted 10 strikes each because Trump faces Class E felony charges in the 34-count indictment.

Prosecutors and Trump’s attorneys have each used six of the 10 strikes allotted to them. The process will begin again on Thursday, and Merchan has said there is a chance that opening arguments in the trial can begin on Monday.

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