Trump Dozes Off Repeatedly During Jury Selection in Hush Money Trial

Former President Trump caught dozing off during his criminal trial over hush money payments, as jury selection continues amid concerns over impartiality.

Ebenezer Mensah
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Trump Dozes Off Repeatedly During Jury Selection in Hush Money Trial

Trump Dozes Off Repeatedly During Jury Selection in Hush Money Trial

Former President Donald Trump has been observed repeatedly falling asleep during the first two days of jury selection in his criminal trial over hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. On the first day, multiple reporters in the Manhattan courtroom noted Trump's head drooping down and his mouth going slack as he appeared to doze off, before being roused by his lawyer passing him notes. The nodding off continued on the second day, with Trump's eyes closing for extended periods and his head tilting to the side before he would jolt awake.

The jury selection process is expected to last about two weeks, as hundreds of New Yorkers are questioned and whittled down to a panel of 12 jurors and 6 alternates. More than half of the initial pool of 100 prospective jurors were excused on the first day after saying they could not be fair or impartial in the case. By the end of the second day, seven jurors had been seated, including a civil litigator, an Irish waiter, an oncology nurse, and a man who said he finds Trump fascinating.

Trump, who is 77 years old, has pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment related to falsifying business records to conceal the hush money payments made to Daniels before the 2016 election. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted. The former president also faces criminal investigations in Georgia, Washington D.C., and Florida stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his handling of classified documents after leaving office.

During Tuesday's proceedings, Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for audibly muttering and gesturing at a potential juror, warning that he would not tolerate any intimidation of jurors in the courtroom. Trump's defense team has focused intently on the opinions prospective jurors hold about the former president, seeking to root out any anti-Trump bias. The prosecutors and Trump's lawyers have used their challenges to dismiss certain potential jurors, including those who had read Trump's books or expressed an inability to be impartial.

Outside the courtroom, Trump has lashed out at the judge and prosecutors, calling the trial a "witch hunt" and claiming he is being persecuted for political reasons. A recent poll found that only about 2 in 10 Americans are confident that judges, jurors, and prosecutors can be fair and impartial in cases involving Trump. The former president's courtroom napping has drawn attention given his past criticism of President Joe Biden as "Sleepy Joe" and his boasts of having more energy than his rivals.

In the high-stakes trial, the judge and lawyers are working to find a fair and impartial jury that can render a verdict based solely on the evidence presented in court. Trump's tendency to nod off during the proceedings underscores the unprecedented nature of a former president being tried on criminal charges . With testimony and deliberations expected to last at least a month after the jury is seated, the outcome of the hush money trial could have major implications for Trump's political future and the 2024 presidential race.

Key Takeaways

  • Trump repeatedly fell asleep during jury selection for his criminal trial.
  • Over half of initial jurors were excused due to inability to be impartial.
  • Trump faces up to 4 years in prison if convicted of falsifying business records.
  • Judge warned Trump against intimidating jurors, as defense seeks to root out anti-Trump bias.
  • Outcome of hush money trial could impact Trump's political future and 2024 race.