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Old 25-10-22, 20:09   #40
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Movies re: TRUMP PROSECUTIONS: Canadas' SECRET Docs Affected by Mar-a-Lago Raid & Pence to Testi

TRUMP PROSECUTIONS: Company Loses Bid to Toss initial Jury Pool in Criminal Trial

AP News 25 Oct 2022





NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Donald Trump's company on Tuesday lost a bid to dismiss an initial group of 18 prospective jurors for the real estate firm's criminal trial on tax fraud charges after arguing that the pool was tainted by observing one juror candidate who said she was biased.


The Manh
attan district attorney's office last year charged the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, its then-chief financial officer, with awarding "off the books" benefits to some senior executives, enabling certain employees to understate their taxable compensation and the company to evade payroll taxes. Weisselberg in August pleaded guilty to charges including grand larceny and tax fraud while admitting to concealing $1.76 million in income.

During the first day of jury selection on Monday, one juror candidate who said in open court that she had strong feelings about Trump that would prevent her from being fair in the trial was called to Judge Juan Merchan's bench for a private discussion, and then dismissed from the pool.

Michael van der Veen, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said on Tuesday before the jury entered that the other jurors in the pool were "visibly chilled" by observing that interaction and may not have answered the question honestly.

Justice Juan Merchan, the judge overseeing the trial in a New York state court, said he was closely observing the prospective jurors and disagreed with van der Veen. That came after prosecutor Joshua Steinglass of the Manhattan district attorney's office said it was "preposterous" to argue that watching one juror leave tainted the remainder of the pool.

"I can appreciate that in your opinion the other jurors were visibly chilled," Merchan said, addressing van der Veen. "I can't say I observed that."

Prosecutors and defense lawyers later on Tuesday were expected to begin questioning the 18 prospective jurors, the next step in what is expected to be a weeklong process to seat a 12-member panel.

In heavily Democratic Manhattan, lawyers for the Trump Organization are expected to be on the lookout for "stealth jurors" who hide the true extent of their anti-Trump feelings in the hopes of getting seated on the panel, experts told Reuters.

Trump, a Republican considering another run for the presidency in 2024, is not charged in the case. He has called the prosecution politically motivated.

The Trump Organization, which operates hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world, could face up to $1.6 million in fines for the three tax fraud counts and six other counts it faces. The company has pleaded not guilty.

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