Jury selection in Trump's hush money trial is complete during tense day in court

 A man set himself on fire Friday outside a New York City courthouse around the same time jury selection was wrapping up in former President Donald Trump's secret money trial in New York, a witness said.


\The accident occurred around 1:30 p.m. ET Inside an area designated for protesters, it was the culmination of an intense day inside the courtroom that led to two jurors breaking down in tears and three being excused after expressing concern about their presence in the case.


The person's condition was not immediately known.


“We have our full panel,” Judge Juan Merchan announced after adding the final six alternates who will serve alongside the 12-juror panel, setting the stage for opening statements in the first criminal trial against a former president. Monday. All 12 people and one alternate were selected by the end of the day Thursday.


The five replacements eventually chosen on Friday included an unemployed married woman who works in the arts and described herself as apolitical, an audio professional, a contracts specialist, an executive at a clothing company and a project manager at a construction company.


The day began with the judge calling the remaining 22 jurors from the previous pool of 96 to answer questions designed to indicate whether they could be fair and impartial about the divisive real estate mogul and presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

The first of those potential jurors was dismissed after she said she didn't think she could be fair. “I feel very, very concerned that people might find out where I am,” she told the judge. Shortly thereafter, two other potential jurors were dismissed after each told the judge, upon further reflection, "I don't think I can be impartial."


Other potential jurors include a married father who said he listens to a podcast called "Order of Man," which is described on Apple's website as discussions about "reclaiming what it means to be a man." Past podcast guests include people who have been vocal in their support of Trump and harshly critical of Letitia James' New York civil fraud case against the former president. One potential juror was a married money manager who said he worked to "get out the vote" for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Trump's 2016 presidential rival, and his attorney Todd Blanche passed notes back and forth as the juror spoke.


Trump seemed more concerned with jurors whose answers were ambiguous about their personal political views. When one potential juror said he was a Fox News viewer, Trump tilted his head and then spoke quickly to his lawyer, Todd Blanche.


Another potential juror was a woman who became emotional when she revealed she had spent two years in prison on drug charges but said she could be "fair and impartial."


During a morning break, Merchan, who on Thursday chided reporters for revealing too much information about potential jurors, said the woman had shared "very personal things about her life" and was "very brave." “I just wanted to encourage the press to be nice. The judge said, ‘Please be nice to this person.’” He later dismissed her, saying she needed a clearance certificate to be eligible for future service. When he left, he happily shouted, “Good luck!”


After that juror departed, the district attorney's office began questioning jurors individually. One woman, who revealed that her father is a lifelong friend of Trump ally-turned-critic Chris Christie, broke down in tears when prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked her an innocent question about the burden of proof in the case. She answered, bursting into tears: "I feel very stressed and anxious right now. I'm sorry." “I thought I could do it,” he said, adding, “I don’t want someone who feels that way to judge my case.” Expelled.


Hofinger's questioning was followed by Trump attorney Susan Nicholls, who asked one potential juror who had started his own practice how to evaluate a witness's credibility. The woman then asked to speak to the judge, saying she was "concerned and suspicious" about Neechlis' questioning. It was rejected.


Neechlis later asked another woman, who previously said she was a victim of sexual assault, whether she would take up against Trump that women who had nothing to do with the case had accused Trump of sexual assault. She said she would have no problem leaving

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