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How the Donald Trump hush money jury shrank from seven to five

Jury selection in the hush money trial picked up steam on Tuesday but started going in the wrong direction on Thursday.


Heading into Thursday, there were already seven jurors on Donald Trump’s first criminal jury in New York. In the morning, the natural question was: How long will it take to get the full 12 jurors (plus alternates)?

But the day’s events quickly raised different questions, after two of those seven jurors were excused.

One of them said they couldn’t be fair, having raised concerns about being identified. Another was dismissed for less clear reasons but expressed annoyance about how much of their personal information had become public. Relatedly, Judge Juan Merchan told the media not to report too much detail from the public proceedings about the jurors, as prosecutors separately alleged that Trump had violated his gag order yet again — seven more times — including with a social media post about jurors.

With Trump's danger hovering over the proceedings, the anonymity concerns underscore the difficulty of not only picking a good jury in this historic case but of keeping that jury together. That, in turn, raises the importance of not only gathering 12 solid jurors but their alternates, as well. Merchan has indicated he wants six alternates.

Given that two seated jurors have already been excused, expect a hard fight from the lawyers for the rest of that regular jury all the way through the alternates. Perhaps more so than in a “normal” prosecution, those alternates may stand a decent chance of subbing in and deciding this monumental case.  

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