IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump's curiosity with jurors ebbs and flows during final stage of selection process. Here's what you missed on trial Day 3.

The former president perked up at certain remarks by members of the jury pool, while at other times he appeared ambivalent and stared straight ahead.
Donald Trump sits in court
Donald Trump as jury selection continues at Manhattan criminal court in New York City on Thursday. Jabin Botsford / Getty Images pool

Jury selection in Donald Trump’s hush money trial Thursday revealed there are certain topics that are likely to capture the former president's attention: Miami, real estate and media.

When one New Yorker talked about his decades in law enforcement, Trump raised his eyebrows. The juror, who said he holds Yankees season tickets, added that he reads the New York Post and Daily News. It was as if Trump, who moments earlier let out a yawn, was seized by an electrical current.

Later, Trump straightened his back and cocked his chin as a young lawyer, born and raised in Miami, began running through her answers to the jury questionnaire. Asked whether she had been the victim of a crime, the woman said her phone was stolen from her in Paris, and she noted that her family’s car was “incidentally burned in an arson in Italy.”

Any reprieve Trump may have hoped for from the woman soon fell away as she talked about reading The Washington Post, a newspaper he has railed against. She said that while she harbors “opinions” about Trump, she is “very comfortable that I can put those aside.” The woman described watching Fox News occasionally “just to try to see what’s going on all sides.”

Trump crossed his arms and glared at the space in front of him.

Both jurors were later dismissed.

At times, Trump craned his neck, particularly when potential jurors who said they didn’t think they could be fair or impartial were exiting the courtroom.

That ended up being the fate of a former university administrator who recalled seeing Trump during a time when he was a developer and tabloid fixture, before he was elected president. The juror described once having seen Trump and his former wife Marla Maples “shopping for baby things at ABC Home.” She said she had heard positive things about Trump but added, “How I feel about him as a president is different.”

The exchange illustrated the complexities of sitting a jury in Democratic-leaning Manhattan, where Trump faces a public largely averse to his behavior and politics.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges related to falsifying business records to allegedly cover up hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the tail end of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mostly, though, Trump appeared ambivalent, staring ahead during voir dire on Thursday. He didn’t follow his legal team in turning around to face the potential jurors seated in the courtroom as they were introduced to the defense.

He yawned as the presiding judge, Juan Merchan, reached the end of reading jury instructions.

The lengthy process included two jurors’ being dismissed after having been seated.

The first, an oncology nurse, said she’d had second thoughts about her ability to be fair or impartial. The other, an IT consultant, returned for questioning and expressed “annoyance” at how much information about him was already public.

A social media influencer wrote on Instagram that she was “[p]roud to be amongst” those who asked to be dismissed because of their strong views about Trump.

Those who weren’t immediately struck ticked through jury questionnaires with answers befitting a densely populated metropolis with some of the highest per capita income levels in the country.

An attorney who said she had discussed the case and its legal merits “with many co-workers” was asked whether that would affect her ability to serve as fair and impartial. She responded with a sigh, saying that while she would put her legal training aside, “it is hard to unring a bell.” She wasn’t seated on the jury.

Standing feet from Trump, others called him “selfish and self-serving” and described themselves as “allergic” to politics that “gets personal and petty.”

A man who said he was born and raised in Italy compared Trump to Silvio Berlusconi, the late prime minister of Italy and infamous womanizer who was convicted of tax fraud in 2013.

“It would be a little hard for me to retain my impartiality and fairness,” the man said before he was dismissed.

Later, a self-described “Bernie gal” apologized after she was asked to read aloud some of her social media posts attacking Trump during the 2016 campaign, a time when, she said, she was in a “disturbed frame of mind.”

“I do not hold those positions today,” she said.

“Electoral politics can be pretty spicy, and Mr. Trump can be pretty spicy. And I feel that I owe him an apology for some of my language,” she said, before she also was dismissed.

Robert Hirschhorn, a jury consultant at Cathy E. Bennett & Associates, said the process wasn’t unusual, with high-profile cases often drawing heavy scrutiny — including of the jurors themselves.

It is “seven steps forward, two steps back,” Hirschhorn said, citing Murphy’s Law.

“If it can go wrong, it will go wrong,” he said.

Still, he said he expected a fair and impartial jury to be impaneled by the end of jury selection.

Merchan swore in the 12-person jury, plus an alternate, on Thursday. He is aiming to sit the five other alternates before the end of Friday.

The trial is expected to take as long as eight weeks, with Trump required to attend every day or face penalties.