Here's what potential jurors in Trump's hush money trial will be asked

New York, New York - Potential jurors in next week's hush money trial of Donald Trump will be asked whether they have ever attended a rally in support of or opposition to the former president.

Potential jurors in Donald Trump's hush money trial will be asked probing questions to ensure their impartiality in proceedings.
Potential jurors in Donald Trump's hush money trial will be asked probing questions to ensure their impartiality in proceedings.  © Collage: REUTERS

These questions are among those that will be asked of a group of randomly selected New Yorkers who will serve as jurors at the first ever criminal trial of an ex-president.

Trump faces 34 counts of allegedly falsifying business records for paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election to cover up a sexual encounter.

Jury selection for the blockbuster trial is to begin in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday, and hundreds of residents have received summons to appear in court.

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Trump's lawyers have argued that the former president cannot get a fair trial in New York, but they lost a last-ditch bid on Monday to delay the start of the trial while they file a motion seeking a change of venue.

Twelve jurors and up to six alternates will be picked to hear the case, which is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Their verdict must be unanimous, and both prosecutors and Trump's attorneys will be seeking to ferret out the political leanings of potential jurors to fashion a panel to their liking.

Jury questionnaire to probe support for extremist right-wing groups

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan has imposed a gag order on Trump, preventing him from attacking witnesses, court staff, or their families.
Judge Juan Manuel Merchan has imposed a gag order on Trump, preventing him from attacking witnesses, court staff, or their families.  © REUTERS

The seven-page jury questionnaire agreed upon by defense attorneys and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg asks jurors basic questions such as their employment, marital status and hobbies before delving into more politically sensitive areas.

"Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump, or the fact that he is a current candidate for president that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?" is one of the questions.

Potential jurors are also asked if they follow Trump on social media or if they have attended rallies or campaign events in support of or opposition to the former president.

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They will also be asked whether they support right-wing extremist groups such as the QAnon movement, the Proud Boys, and the Oathkeepers, or if they are back the left-wing antifascist movement Antifa.

After the jurors respond to the questionnaire, they will undergo a further screening process known as "voir dire" during which they will be questioned by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Trump's lawyers have tried – and failed – to delay the trial on the grounds that the New York jury pool has been exposed to "huge amounts of biased and unfair media coverage."

Merchan has already ruled that the names of the jury members will be shielded from the public and warned Trump that if he violates a gag order by attacking witnesses, court staff or their families, he may also withhold their identities from his lawyers.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

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