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June 18, 2024
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Jury Deliberations Are Starting in Trump’s Trial. Here’s How They Work.

Jury Deliberations Are Starting in Trump’s Trial. Here’s How They Work.

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The 12 unidentified jurors have retreated behind closed doors and started to debate whether the first president to be criminally prosecuted has committed felony crimes.

The jury began deliberating inside the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse on Wednesday. It’s common to wait days, or even weeks, for a verdict. Credit…Adam Gray for The New York Times

For more than five weeks, the 12 unidentified jurors in Donald J. Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial have listened to opening statements, witness testimony, closing arguments and the judge’s final instructions.

Now their deliberations have begun. The jurors retreated behind closed doors on Wednesday and started to debate whether the first president to be criminally prosecuted has committed felony crimes.

The first juror selected is serving as the foreperson and will likely lead the jury’s discussions during deliberations. His or her opinion and vote do not carry more importance than those of the others.

Justice Juan M. Merchan said the jury could deliberate until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and that he planned to revisit how long deliberations would go each day beyond that.

While the jury deliberates, it’s common to wait days, or even weeks, for a verdict. Prosecutors charged Mr. Trump with 34 felony charges of falsifying business records related to a $130,000 hush-money payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election.

The jurors’ verdict on each count — guilty or not guilty — must be unanimous.

During their deliberations, the jury can send back notes, signed by the foreperson, to ask questions to the court or have a witness’s testimony read back to them. Jurors also have access to a laptop containing trial exhibits that they can refer to during their deliberations.

If one of the 12 jurors is unable to continue deliberating for any reason, an alternate would step in. They have watched the case for weeks and remain on site so they can tag in if necessary.

Mr. Trump also must remain inside the courthouse while the jury is deliberating.

If the jury finds that he is guilty of even one of the counts, the judge will sentence Mr. Trump at a later date. But if they find that he is not guilty of all of the charges, Mr. Trump will be acquitted.

If the jurors cannot reach a verdict, they will inform the judge, who will urge them to continue their deliberations. If they remain deadlocked, the judge could declare a mistrial, and the prosecutors would then need to decide whether to bring the case again.

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