Trump hush money trial struggles to find impartial jurors

New York, New York - More than 50 prospective jurors were excused from the landmark trial of former president Donald Trump on Monday after they said they would not be able to try him fairly and impartially.

Donald Trump's historic hush money trial kicked off in Manhattan on Monday.
Donald Trump's historic hush money trial kicked off in Manhattan on Monday.  © POOL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Ninety-six potential panelists were assembled in a New York court to be screened for their ability to fairly judge Trump, accused of covering up hush money payments to a porn star with whom he is alleged to have had an affair.

One prospective juror, a woman with short hair, said, "I just couldn't do it" as she left court, which was adjourned for the day and will resume Tuesday at 9:30 AM.

At least nine other prospective jurors were excused after raising their hands when Judge Juan Merchan asked if they could not serve for any other reason.

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A randomly selected group of 18 prospective jurors was taken through pre-agreed screening questions covering education, news habits, hobbies, and their ability to be neutral.

Merchan has said there is a pool of up to 500 Manhattan residents from which the court can draw to impanel the jury that will judge arguably one of the most well-known and controversial men in the world.

Jurors must answer a questionnaire including checks on whether they have been members of far-right groups associated with Trump.

More than a dozen court officers were stationed around the courtroom in Manhattan as the process ground on, and Trump craned his neck to see the prospective panelists.

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The jury selection process for Trump's hush money trial could go on as long as two weeks, according to the former president's lawyer.
The jury selection process for Trump's hush money trial could go on as long as two weeks, according to the former president's lawyer.  © MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Selection of 12 jurors – given anonymity to protect them from what the judge says is risk of bribery or even physical harm – is expected to be a tortuous process.

It could go on as long as two weeks, according to one of Trump's lawyers.

The Republican presidential candidate is accused of falsifying business records in a scheme to cover up an alleged extramarital sexual encounter with adult film actor Stormy Daniels to shield his first election campaign in 2016 from last-minute upheaval.

He faces three other criminal cases centered on his hoarding of top-secret documents after leaving office and his alleged unprecedented attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.

Cover photo: POOL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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