Potential jurors quizzed on Trump in inaugural chair’s trial

Sep 20, 2022, 8:47 AM | Updated: 2:13 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Potential jurors in the criminal trial of Donald Trump’s inaugural committee chair have been quizzed by the judge on a tricky topic: What do they think of the former president?

The question came up this week during jury selection at the New York City trial of wealthy businessperson Tom Barrack, who is accused of working as an unregistered agent of the United Arab Emirates to influence the president’s foreign policy.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan told prospective jurors Trump’s name would come up often at the trial, and even floated the idea that he might testify. Cogan pressed them on whether they could be fair in a case infused with politics and shadowy international business dealings.

Some potential jurors said it was asking too much because of their distaste for the former president.

“To be frank, I don’t think so,” one man said when asked whether could remain impartial. “For the sake of the trial, I could, but it would be challenging.”

Asked the same question, another replied, “That would be tough. That would be difficult.”

Both men were dismissed.

A woman survived the cut in the first round of questioning despite being called out about her answer on a questionnaire asking her to name a public figure that she least admired and why: “Donald Trump. No explanation needed.”

When the judge told her, “I’m going to need a little more explanation than that,” she insisted she could set aside her feelings and be a fair juror.

There were some Trump supporters in the pool of potential jurors, including one man who said he liked the former president because he was “a strong backer of Israel.” Others claimed they had no opinion about Trump at all.

Jury selection continued Tuesday with the judge and lawyers expected settle on a final panel of jurors on Wednesday morning. Open statements would follow.

Barrack, a close personal friend of Trump for decades, raised $107 million for Trump’s inaugural celebration following the 2016 election. The event was scrutinized both for its lavish spending and for attracting foreign officials and businesspeople looking to lobby the new administration.

Barrack was arrested last year and released on $250 million bail.

The Los Angeles-based private equity manager was a key figure in UAE investments in a tech fund and real estate totaling $374 million. Prosecutors say that while he was nurturing those business deals, Barrack helped UAE leaders influence Trump during his campaign for president and after he was elected.

Those efforts included drafting a speech for Trump that praised a member of the country’s royal family, passing information back to the Emiratis about how senior U.S. officials felt about a boycott of Qatar, and promising to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates if he were appointed as an ambassador or envoy to the Middle East.

Such an appointment “would give ABU DHABI more power!” Barrack wrote in one message obtained by federal prosecutors.

Barrack has said he is innocent. His lawyers said his contacts with the Emirates were not a secret and had been disclosed to Trump’s campaign and administration.

As he arrived at the courthouse Monday for the start of jury selection, Barrack told reporters he had faith jurors would acquit him.

“I believe in the system,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - President Joe Biden attends an event to support legislation that would encourage domestic ma...
Associated Press

Can Biden save democracy one US factory job at a time?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival — even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to […]
22 hours ago
FILE - People stand on the destroyed bridge to Pine Island as they view the damage in the aftermath...
Associated Press

Biden to focus on hurricane victims in Florida, not politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will visit hurricane-ravaged Florida with a pledge that federal, state and local governments will work as one to help rebuild homes, businesses and lives — putting politics on mute for now to focus on those in need. Hurricane Ian has resulted in at least 84 people confirmed dead, including […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Ky., arrives to speak to reporters Sept. 7, 2022,...
Associated Press

GOP optimistic about Senate chances despite Walker turmoil

NEW YORK (AP) — Leading Republicans are entering the final month of the midterm campaign increasingly optimistic that a Senate majority is within reach even as a dramatic family fight in Georgia clouds one of the party’s biggest pickup opportunities. And as some Democrats crow on social media about apparent Republican setbacks, party strategists privately […]
22 hours ago
Shown is the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center housing the Court of Chancery in Wilmington, Del., ...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Musk Twitter turnaround reflects legal challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — News that Elon Musk has agreed after all to proceed with his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter may have felt like a stunning surprise from the brash billionaire who loves to shock. It sent shares of the social media platform soaring and stoked alarm among some media watchdogs and civil rights […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A miner processes gold he illegally extracted from the Madeira River in Nova Olinda, Amazona...
Associated Press

Big Brazilian gold refiner delisted amid Amazon mining probe

MIAMI (AP) — One of Brazil’s biggest gold refiners, which processes gold suspected of being mined illegally in the Amazon rainforest, has been stripped of an important industry seal of approval that global manufacturers from Apple to Tesla rely on to root out abuses in their supply chains. An investigation by The Associated Press in […]
22 hours ago
Shown is the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center housing the Court of Chancery in Wilmington, Del., ...
Associated Press

Musk says he wants Twitter again and will pay $44B price

Elon Musk wants Twitter again — and Twitter is game. The billionaire Tesla CEO has proposed to buy the company at the originally agreed-on price of $44 billion, bringing the tumultuous, monthslong saga another step closer to a conclusion. Musk made the surprising turnaround not on Twitter, as has been his custom, but in a […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Potential jurors quizzed on Trump in inaugural chair’s trial