As We Barrel Headlong Into Trump’s First Criminal Trial, Biased Judge Merchan Releases Jury Questions

The first criminal trial against former president Donald Trump is slated to begin April 15, and late Monday afternoon, Judge Juan Merchan released the questionnaire he plans to use to oversee jury selection for the trial.

“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about whether a former president may be criminally charged in a state court?” asks one question. “Do you have any feelings about how Mr. Trump is being treated in this case?”

I almost want to say no; I’ve been living in a cave for the last decade, I have no feelings of any kind about the oncoming proceedings. 

Trump and his lawyers had tried to delay the trial but have been repeatedly rejected by various judges: 


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Judge Merchan wants to know if potential jurors have any feelings whatsoever about the former president and current GOP presumptive nominee in the presidential race.

Prosecutive jurors will be asked if they have ever attended one of Trump’s rallies, if they belong to groups like the Proud Boys or Antifa, or if they volunteered with a political entity associated with the former president.
“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about whether a former president may be criminally charged in a state court?” one question asks. “Do you have any feelings about how Mr. Trump is being treated in this case?”
Other questions ask if prosecutive jurors have read any of Trump’s books, can set aside their past knowledge of the case, or have opinions on the legal limits related to political contributions.

I’ve served on several juries—and am proud to report that I was the foreman on one of them—but often I got the feeling they want the least-informed people on the planet to weigh in. Obviously, judges don’t want to seat biased jurors, but sometimes the lengths they resort to are almost comical. Who in the United States doesn’t have an opinion on Donald Trump, one way or the other?

“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump or the fact that he is a current candidate for president that would interfere with your ability to be a fair or impartial juror?” another question asked.

Nope. Never heard of him. That’s the answer Merchan is apparently seeking. He will boot any prospective panelists if they show any sign of bias:

Jurors will also be asked standard preliminary questions, including their marital status, employment status, hobbies, criminal history and potential scheduling conflicts. Merchan, borrowing from an approach taken for the Trump Organization criminal trial [incorrect, it was civil, not criminal], opted to excuse any jurors who self-identify as unfair or partial.
“This Court finds, after careful consideration of the circumstances of this case, that requiring individual inquiry of every prospective juror who has already self-identified that they cannot be fair and impartial, or that they are otherwise unable to serve, is unnecessary, time-consuming and of no benefit,” Merchan wrote.

He also played his cards straight up and revealed the instructions he intends to read to the jury next week:

“The allegations are in substance that Donald Trump falsified business records to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 election. Specifically, it is alleged that Donald Trump made or concerned false business records to hide the true nature of payments to Michael Cohen, by characterizing them as payment for legal services rendered pursuant to a retainer agreement. The people allege that in fact, the payments were intended to reimburse Michael Cohen for money he paid to Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, in the weeks before the presidential election to prevent her from publicly revealing details about a past sexual encounter with Donald Trump. Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies the allegations,” the summary said.

The lawfare against the former president has been the ongoing story of the past several months, with Trump slammed with outrageous fines for dubious “crimes.” But those were civil matters—this is the first criminal trial they’ve managed to bring to the courthouse. Merchan has proven to be heavily biased against the former president, and it will be interesting to see whether he can conduct a fair proceeding or if this will just be more banana republic justice. 

From what I’ve seen, I’m betting on the latter.

More Lawfare Lunacy:

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