Trump rebuked by judge for speaking during jury selection — and 7 jurors are seated

This is Yahoo News’ succinct update on the criminal and civil cases against former President Donald Trump. Here are the latest developments:

🚨 What happened today

On Tuesday, the second day of former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial, Judge Juan Merchan rebuked defense lawyers after Trump was heard muttering his disapproval of an answer given by a potential juror in the case. “I won’t tolerate that,” Merchan told Trump lawyer Todd Blanche. “I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom.” The proceedings moved swiftly, however, with seven jurors being sworn in and Merchan signaling that opening arguments could begin on Monday.

📌 Tell me more

  • Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass began his questioning with a simple observation: “Let’s start with the obvious: The defendant in this case is both a former president and current candidate for that office.”

  • He told the jurors who had made it through a preliminary round of questioning that the trial was “not a referendum on President Trump.”

  • “This case is about whether this man broke the law,” he continued. “Did he falsify business records to cover up an agreement to unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election?”

  • Todd Blanche, one of Trump’s lawyers, began his questioning of potential jurors by saying the trial was “extraordinarily serious” and that it was important that Trump “get a fair shake.”

  • Blanche sought to disqualify several jurors because of their activity on social media. He questioned one woman about a video posted to Facebook on Election Day 2020 that showed people reacting to Biden’s victory. The woman said it captured what seemed like a “celebratory moment in New York City.” Merchan ruled that posting the video did not disqualify her from serving on the jury, to which Trump reacted with gestures and commentary.

  • That earned Trump his rebuke from the judge, who told Blanche to speak to his client.

  • “Yes, your honor,” Balance responded, while Trump looked on angrily.

  • Merchan did dismiss some jurors based on their social media activity, however.

  • In all, Trump’s lawyers used six of the 10 challenges they were allowed to dismiss prospective jurors without giving a reason. Prosecutors also used six of theirs.

  • After he left the courtroom, Trump called Merchan a “conflicted judge” and added, “We’re having a hard time with the New York state system.”

  • Court does not meet on Wednesdays, so jury selection continues on Thursday, with five more jurors and six alternates needing to be sworn in before opening arguments in the historic trial can get underway.

📖 The background

⚖️ Trump’s trials and legal cases

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