Legal expert: Judge in Trump case could remove juror who refused to convict

 May 30, 2024

Thursday saw jurors in former President Donald Trump's New York hush-money trial find him guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

However, one legal expert suggested that even if there had been a hung jury, the judge still would have found a way to get a conviction. 

"Quite cynical" move explained

According to the Daily Caller, that possibility was put forward on Wednesday by Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz during an episode of his podcast.

"I admit this is highly, highly speculative, but there… I know a case on this, so that I’m not making it up: The judge said he's not going to dismiss the alternate jurors until there's an absolute verdict," Dershowitz said.

"One possible reason for that, again, I want to emphasize that I'm speculating, one possible reason for this might be following, it is quite cynical," the legal scholar continued.

"Let's assume that the jurors come back and say, 'Sorry we're, uh, we're deadlocked. We have one juror who just won't give in. Well, there are eleven of us who think he's guilty," Dershowitz explained.

Judge could swap out a juror who refuses to convict

"So the judge hears from the jurors and the judge hears that they’re eleven to one and then the judge says, 'Well is that other juror, the twelfth juror, is he negotiating? Is he involved in the conversations?'" Dershowitz went on.

"And the foreman to the jury says 'No, he's refusing, he's sitting there with his arms folded, saying, 'Guy's innocent, sorry, guy's innocent, I'm not going to listen to you,'" the lawyer stated.

Dershowitz then pointed out that Judge Juan Merchan would have the authority to remove the holdout juror for "violating his oath."

"'I'm going to substitute one of the alternate jurors for that juror,'" Dershowitz imagined Merchan saying. "And then immediately, they come back with a twelve to nothing verdict of conviction."

The Daily Caller noted that Merchan has been accused of showing bias against Trump, with some critics pointing to the fact that his daughter works as a political consultant for Democratic politicians and has used the former president's trial to raise money.

Actor suggests Republicans will have to retaliate

News of Trump's conviction was met with condemnation from conservatives, including Hollywood actor and comedian Rob Schneider.

Schneider complained that Trump had been "found guilty by biased Democrats" and predicted retaliation from Republicans following this year's election.

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