- Former President Donald Trump is facing criminal charges for alleged hush money payments and is expected to enter a plea of not guilty.
- Trump’s ideal jury at his trial would likely include Make America Great Again supporters and people who distrust the government or authority.
- Achieving the ideal jury will be difficult as the prosecution and defense can strike jurors for cause.
Former President Donald Trump’s ideal jury in his upcoming criminal trial might be difficult to achieve, according to law experts.
On Thursday, Trump became the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges after a grand jury in Manhattan voted to indict him on about 30 charges related to alleged hush money payments he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing and is expected to enter a plea of not guilty at his arraignment, which is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Tuesday.
A trial date is unknown, and Trump’s legal team might attempt to delay the trial until after the 2024 election, for which he is the leading Republican candidate. When the jury is selected, lawyers on both sides will be seeking ideal candidates.
For Trump, that would include Make America Great Again (MAGA) supporters or people who are skeptical of the government or authority, according to Palm Beach County, Florida, state attorney Dave Aronberg.
“He wants MAGA on the jury, loyal supporters of his and others who are mistrustful of the government,” Aronberg told Newsweek on Friday.
Trump has repeatedly deemed the grand jury’s investigation a “witch hunt” and as being politically biased by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Republicans have targeted Bragg for donations he received from billionaire George Soros, who provided $500,000 to the DA’s 2021 campaign through the Color of Change political action committee.
Aronberg said potential ideal jurors might have had a family member that had been prosecuted or “at the very least” distrusts government and authority.
However, seating ideal jurors will likely be difficult for Trump’s legal team. In New York, the prosecution and defense have an unlimited ability to strike a juror for cause, meaning potential jurors might be eliminated because of bias that could influence their ability to issue a fair verdict.
A strike must be argued to the judge, who then makes the ruling. The judge also can strike jurors for cause without an attorney’s request.
Politically vocal people might have a hard time getting appointed to the jury, and Trump’s team might have to adjust who they’re looking for to avoid ideal candidates being struck.
Syracuse University law professor Todd Berger told Newsweek that in criminal cases, prosecutors often seek out jurors from the white, working class with conservative views who are law and order oriented. However, Trump’s case might see a role reversal, in which the defense is seeking conservative working-class jurors.
“In this instance, it’s almost the opposite,” Berger said. “The prosecution probably wants the jurors who you think would be more skeptical of police and may harbor stronger views toward Donald Trump and more inclined to convict him.”
Therefore, Trump’s ideal juror might be the conservative, white, working-class person that the prosecution usually seeks.
“They may be more likely to side with Donald Trump,” Berger said.