Judge Releases Jury Questionnaire for Trump's Hush Money Trial

The judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's hush money trial in New York has approved a jury selection questionnaire and instructions for prospective jurors in the trial, which is set to begin next week.

A Letter On Monday, State Judge Juan Merchan handed prosecutors a jury questionnaire that included 42 numbered questions on several topics. The form does not ask about party affiliation, political contributions or voting history.

Merson pushed back against an argument by Trump's lawyers that potential jurors' political affiliations and whether they liked Trump were important to jury selection, saying, “Contrary to defense counsel's arguments, the purpose of jury selection is No To determine whether a prospective juror likes or dislikes one of the parties.

“Such questions are irrelevant because they do not go to the issue of the prospective juror's qualifications,” Merson wrote. “The ultimate issue is whether a prospective juror can assure us that he will set aside any personal feelings or biases and make a decision based on the evidence and the law.”

The form asks prospective judges several questions, including:

  • their neighborhoods, occupations, employers (present and past), marital status, hobbies and interests, and relationships with others who have been victims of crime or, alternatively, who have worked in the FBI or prosecutor's offices or in criminal law
  • They cannot follow a judge's instructions or render a judgment because of “political, moral, intellectual or religious beliefs or opinions”.
  • Whether they've read or read any of Mark Pomeranz's or Michael Cohen's books about the alleged crimes and/or the investigation leading up to the hush money case and what they've read or heard via audiobook, “affects your ability to be fair or impartial. The judge in this case.”
  • about their personal, family or close friends' ties to Trump or the Trump Organization, before specifying whether they have engaged in certain activities that reflect political support for Trump or “any anti-Trump group or organization” and/or extremist movements;
  • whether they adhere to “a religion which prevents them from sitting as judges on any particular day of the week or night of the week”; Merson noted in his letter that if any observant Jews were chosen as judges, there should be no court during Passover.
  • They have a list of options to check what they read, watch and listen to in terms of media consumption, including The New York Times, New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, as well as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and Newsmax. and social media platforms such as Facebook, X, TikTok and Truth Social.
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Merchan suggested in his letter that the question of political connection “could easily be derived from answers to other questions,” but cautioned lawyers in the case, “not to seek to expand the scope of the intrusion beyond what is relevant and already authorized.”

Attorneys for Trump and the Manhattan district attorney's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday evening.

Controversy over political preferences has been raised in Trump's classified documents case in Florida, where his attorneys and prosecutors are contesting disclosures of political connections in a questionnaire for prospective jurors.

Trump pleaded not guilty in Manhattan last year after being charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In addition to detailing jury questions, prospective jurors will be identified by numbers printed on their jury summons before entering the courtroom “as a necessary step to ensure anonymity,” Merchan said Monday.

Merson ruled last month to use anonymous jurors, effectively shielding jurors' names from the media and the public, citing “bribery, jury tampering or physical injury or harassment of jurors.”

In Monday's letter, Merchan said the court will not conduct private interviews with prospective jurors who say they are unable to serve, saying the move is “unnecessary, time-consuming and serves no purpose to the case.”

The jury questionnaire and instructions came the same day a state appeals court judge rejected Trump's bid to delay the trial, which was set to begin April 15 with jury selection.

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