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Jury selection for former President Donald Trump’s first criminal trial is set to begin, with court officials expecting around 500 potential jurors to be available daily for the selection process in Manhattan. Initially, about 100 prospective jurors at a time will be vetted by Judge Juan Merchan, and ultimately, 12 jurors and 6 alternates will be chosen to consider the 34 counts of falsifying business records against Trump.

Prospective jurors will be dismissed by the judge for cause if deemed unfit to serve on the panel, and both prosecutors and Trump’s defense team will have 10 peremptory strikes to remove potential jurors without explanation. The selection process will involve a questionnaire covering various topics, including the jurors’ residence, news sources, attendance at Trump rallies, and affiliations with groups like the Proud Boys or QAnon.

Further questions will gauge the potential jurors’ opinions on Trump without explicitly asking about political party affiliation or voting history. Additionally, jurors will be asked about their involvement in Trump-related events or anti-Trump activities, as well as their exposure to books or podcasts related to the case. Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, will also be a topic of inquiry during the selection process.

Prospective jurors will be required to read their responses aloud, allowing for follow-up questions from attorneys and the judge to assess for conflicts or biases. Individuals who believe they cannot serve on the panel will be dismissed, as Merchan ruled that there will be no individual questioning about the reasoning behind their self-reporting. To protect the jurors’ privacy, their identifying information will not be publicly released, and measures will be taken to prevent intimidation or interference.

Judge Merchan has prohibited Trump from making any public comments or directing others to do so regarding the jurors involved in the trial. A sketch artist will be permitted in the courtroom during jury selection, but they are instructed not to sketch jurors’ faces. Media coverage will be restricted, with limited reporters allowed in the courtroom to witness the questioning of prospective jurors, while others will observe from an overflow courtroom via closed-circuit monitors. The entire jury will remain anonymous throughout the trial.

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