Judge Rebukes Trump for Attempting to Intimidate Prospective Juror

On Tuesday afternoon, the judge presiding over Donald Trump’s criminal hush-money trial admonished the former president, ordering his counsel to keep him quiet during jury selection and urging him not to intimidate possible jurors.

“He was gesticulating and murmuring something. He was audible. He was speaking directly to the juror. “I will not tolerate that,” New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan told Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, raising his voice.

“I will not tolerate any juror intimidation in this courtroom. “I want to make that clear,” the judge added.

Judge Rebukes Trump for Attempting to Intimidate Prospective Juror

The warning came Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Blanche questioned a prospective juror about her “hostile” social media remarks.

Blanche suggested that the prospective juror had earlier on Tuesday depicted herself as impartial. The defense used Facebook videos in which she referenced to street celebrations in New York City following now-President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Merchan complained that the juror was “maybe 12 feet” away from the defense table when Trump became “audible.”

Merchan told Blanche to speak with Trump, who was sitting next to him, about “his behavior.”

“My client is aware,” Blanche informed the judge, after briefly whispering into Trump’s ear.

By the end of the day on Tuesday, seven jurors had been selected: four males and three women. The trial will be adjourned on Wednesday, with jury selection continuing on Thursday.

This is not the first time Trump’s outbursts have disrupted his trial sessions. In E. Jean Carroll’s second trial against him for defamation damages, the court told Trump not to heckle Carroll while she was testifying.

“I’m going to ask Mr. Trump to take special care to keep his voice down when conferring with his attorneys,” US District Judge Lewis Kaplan stated during the January trial.

Judge Rebukes Trump for Attempting to Intimidate Prospective Juror

Jurors ruled against Trump in that lawsuit, ordering him to pay Carroll more than $80 million in damages.

Merchan has been acutely conscious of the courtroom dynamics while interviewing prospective jurors, a process that is expected to take approximately two weeks.

The 12 jurors and six alternates will hear around four weeks of testimony over charges that Trump altered corporate paperwork to conceal hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election.

On Monday, the first day of jury selection, Merchan said he would adjust the procedure so that prospective jurors may answer questions in the main courtroom rather than being crowded into his much smaller robing room with lawyers and Trump himself.

“I am concerned that going into the jury room with an individual juror surrounded by all of these people is just going to be overly intimidating to that juror,” he told reporters on Monday.

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