Trump warned against intimidating jurors as he mutters under his breath in court

17 April 2024, 09:12

Donald Trump's historic criminal court case began on Monday
Donald Trump's historic criminal court case began on Monday. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Donald Trump has been warned against intimidating the jury after he muttered to a potential juror as she was questioned about whether she was biased against him.

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Judge Juan Merchan said Mr Trump "audibly muttered something" to a woman who was being questioned about a political video she shared on Facebook after the 2020 election.

“I won’t tolerate that,” the judge said. “I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom.”

Todd Blanche, Mr Trump's defence lawyer, was then told to admonish his client.

It came after the first six jurors were selected for Mr Trump's historic criminal trial.

Donald Trump's historical criminal case continues today
Donald Trump's historical criminal case continues today. Picture: Getty

It is the first criminal trial of a serving or former president in the country's history and centres around alleged payments he made to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

The former US President is accused of paying her 'hush money' to keep quiet about an alleged affair they had in 2006.

Read More: More potential jurors dismissed as Trump’s hush money trial enters second day

Read More: Trump labels hush-money trial 'an assault on America' during first day of proceedings

Mr Trump has denied the charges.

Given the high-profile nature of the trial, it has proven difficult to find jurors who feel they are able to be unbiased.

Donald Trump has claimed he can't have a fair trial in New York
Donald Trump has claimed he can't have a fair trial in New York. Picture: Getty

In fact, more than half of prospective jurors in the case were immediately dismissed after admitting they could be neither fair nor impartial.

On the first day of the trial, on Monday, 96 people were assessed - more than half of which ruled themselves out.

“If you have an honest, legitimate, good-faith reason to believe you cannot serve on this case or cannot be fair and impartial, please let me know now,” Justice Merchan said.

One potential juror was then heard saying, “I just couldn’t do it,” as she left the New York court.

Mr Trump and his defence team want to use the issue of impartiality to their advantage, casting doubt on the idea that he can be given a fair trial in New York, a Democrat-voting city.

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