Trump hush-money trial swears in full 12-member jury

'We have our jury,' judge says as search continues for six alternative jurors

Former US president Donald Trump speaks to the press at the conclusion of the third day of his trial in New York. AFP
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A panel of 12 jurors was sworn in on Thursday to sit in judgment of Donald Trump at the unprecedented criminal trial of a former US president.

“We have our jury,” said Judge Juan Merchan after a day of intensive questioning of dozens of potential jurors by prosecutors and Mr Trump's defence team.

Mr Merchan said he hoped to complete the selection of six alternate jurors on Friday and hold opening arguments in the case on Monday.

Mr Trump, who is seeking to recapture the White House in November, is accused of falsifying business records on the eve of his 2016 election victory to cover up an affair with an adult film star.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Seven jurors had been selected as of Tuesday but that number fell to five on Thursday after the release of the two who had already been sworn in.

One was excused because she had concerns that her identity had been revealed, and the other after doubts about the accuracy of his answers during questioning.

To protect the anonymity of the New Yorkers randomly selected for jury service, Mr Merchan asked reporters on Thursday to stop providing physical descriptions and not identify where they work.

A unanimous verdict will be required to convict Mr Trump.

Potential jurors were grilled by prosecutors and defence lawyers about their media use, political donations, education and whether they have ever attended a pro or anti-Trump rally.

Trump's 'hush money' trial begins in New York

Trump's 'hush money' trial begins in New York

About half of the first batch of 96 jurors ushered into the courtroom on Thursday were immediately excused after saying they could not be fair and impartial in a case involving one of the most famous and controversial men in the country.

The trial, expected to last six to eight weeks, comes as Mr Trump is taking on Democratic President Joe Biden in a bid to make a return to the White House.

Mr Trump has been ordered by the judge to attend every day, forcing the real estate tycoon to exchange the campaign trail for the confines of a rundown court.

If convicted of falsifying business records, the twice-impeached Mr Trump could face prison, but legal observers say fines would be more likely.

Updated: April 18, 2024, 10:22 PM