Trump Trial’s Jury Selection Is ‘Unprecedented,’ Former Prosecutor Says

The jury selection process in former President Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial has featured moments that are “unprecedented,” according to former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.

Trump’s hush-money trial began with jury selection in Manhattan on Monday, with seven of 18 total required jurors and alternates having been selected by the end of the day on Tuesday. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal a 2016 payment to adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.

Kirschner, frequent Trump critic and former assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., said during the latest episode of his Justice Matters podcast on Wednesday that selecting a jury in the trial had moved along quickly and included some “unusual” moments from New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the trial.

The former prosecutor highlighted Merchan’s dismissal of a large number of potential jurors immediately after they raised their hands to indicate that they did not believe they could be impartial toward Trump during the trial, a moment that Kirschner said he had “never seen” happen during jury selection.

Donald Trump Jury Selection Unprecedented Glenn Kirschner
Ex-President Donald Trump, right, and his lawyer Todd Blanche on Tuesday are pictured on the second day of Trump’s criminal trial in New York City. Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner on Wednesday called part of…


“Something like 50 hands went up,” Kirschner said. “And those people were excused. They weren’t asked any follow-up questions. Is that usual? Is that the way juries are ordinarily selected? The answer is no, it’s not usual. It’s unorthodox In fact, for this 30-year prosecutor, it’s unprecedented. I’ve never seen jury selection start like that.”

“You can rehabilitate jurors—sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t—but we ordinarily try,” he continued. “Judge Merchan decided he’s not going to do it … If they say they can’t be fair because this case involves Donald Trump, I’m going to take them at their word … We’re not going to spend lots and lots of time trying to ask follow-up questions.”

Newsweek reached out for comment to the offices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Trump lawyer Todd Blanche via email on Wednesday night.

Kirschner went on to say that Merchan deciding against attempting to “rehabilitate” the potential jurors was “a wise choice” because seven people had already been selected to serve on the jury—a pace that he said was “really fast in a case like this.”

The selection of two lawyers as qualified jurors was also deemed “unusual” by Kirschner, who said that “most lawyers” who work in criminal cases are “not wild about having lawyers” serve on juries because they might be “second-guessing” their decisions.

However, Kirschner argued that lawyers “make pretty good jurors” because they “understand the way the process works” and are sometimes able to “draw” their fellow jurors away from tendencies to “engage in speculation and wild theories and hypotheticals” that are not grounded in evidence.

Kirschner concluded by saying that he has a “good feeling” about the trial and Merchan’s performance so far, predicting that the proceedings against the former president would amount to “one giant step on the road to fulfilling the promise that no one is above the law.”

In a statement to Newsweek, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung previously described Kirschner as “a notorious trafficker of wild conspiracy theories and dubious legal analysis” who “has been shunned by the legal community at large.”