Juror Fallout: Social Media Post Raises Suspicions of Verdict Discussion Before Trial End

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Judge’s Facebook Dilemma: Jury Credibility at Risk

A New York City trial involving former President Donald Trump has taken an intriguing turn, as Judge Juan Merchan notified the defense team about a concerning comment posted on the court’s Facebook page. The comment, attributed to a user named “Michael Anderson,” allegedly hinted that one of the jurors had shared details of the jury’s guilty verdict with family members before the trial’s conclusion.

The Facebook Posting

The comment, as described in Judge Merchan’s letter, appeared in response to a routine court notice on the platform. It read: “‘My cousin is a juror and says Trump is getting convicted! Thank you folks for all your hard work!!!'” In a subsequent comment on a separate post, the user reiterated the cousin’s alleged revelation: “They’re going to convict him tomorrow according to her.”

Scrutiny and Skepticism

Judge Merchan’s decision to flag the comment has raised concerns about the integrity of the jury process. Jurors were explicitly instructed not to discuss the case with anyone during the trial. The Facebook profile associated with “Michael Anderson” contains little personal information and describes the user as “Transabled & professional s— poster.”

Legal Experts Weigh In

Legal experts have expressed varying opinions on the matter. Some, such as Jonathan Turley, remain skeptical, citing the prevalence of trolls and bots on social media. He has stated, “The odds of such a posting being a genuine account of a juror in this day and age is relatively small.” Others, like William Trachman, emphasize the seriousness of the allegation: “Anytime you have a juror who’s talking about what they are going to do — especially in the future, like, ‘We’re going to do this thing tomorrow’ – that’s a really grave issue with a jury.”

Impact on the Verdict

If proven true, the allegations could potentially jeopardize the verdict against Trump. Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, explains that “one exception [to protecting jury deliberations] is if outside influences are brought into the jury deliberation room.” In that case, the defense may need to demonstrate both the existence of improper outside influence and that it prejudiced the outcome of the trial.

Ongoing Investigation

The allegations are being investigated by Judge Merchan and the court officials. Trump’s campaign has also stated that it is looking into the matter. While no definitive conclusions have been reached, the Facebook comment has stirred controversy and highlights the importance of jury impartiality in criminal cases.