Merchan called for warning over ‘troll’ comment suggesting Trump jury was compromised

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The judge presiding over former President Trump’s criminal trial in New York is facing scrutiny for jeopardizing the credibility of his own jury after sending a letter to the defense team about ‘a comment posted on the court’s public Facebook page. This implies that one of the jurors discussed the guilty verdict with his family before the conclusion of the trial.

The comment was made by a user who described himself as a “professional asshole,” leading some to question why Merchan alerted Trump’s lawyer without further investigating the matter.

In a letter Friday, Judge Juan Merchan told Trump’s defense attorneys and Manhattan prosecutors: “Today the Court became aware of a comment that was posted on the court system’s public Facebook page unified and which I now bring to your attention.

“In the comment, user ‘Michael Anderson’ says: ‘My cousin is on jury duty and says Trump will be convicted! Thanks guys for all your hard work!!!!'” A comment from the same user on another message read: “Thank you for all your hard work [sic] against MAGA madmen! My cousin is a juror in Trump’s criminal case and she says they’re going to convict him tomorrow.”


When someone on Facebook called out the illegality of jurors discussing a case before a verdict is reached, the user called “Michael Anderson” posted that he and his cousin “are now married.”

Fox News has not verified the claims made in the comment or the identity of the user who posted the message. But the claim made in the comment has a “relatively low” chance of being authentic, according to legal expert and Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley.

In a letter Friday, Judge Juan Merchan highlighted a comment posted on the court’s public Facebook page that implied one of the jurors discussed Trump’s guilty verdict with his family before the trial’s conclusion. (PA)

“As I said when this story first broke, I remain skeptical. As a result, I was surprised by the court’s response before even the most rudimentary investigation into the publication,” Turley said , constitutional law attorney, at Fox News Digital. “All of our sites, from Facebook to blogs, are subject to a constant barrage of trolls, bots and blatantly insane posters.

“The chances of such a publication being an authentic account from a juror these days are relatively low. You would have a higher probability of finding the key to the Dead Sea Scrolls on the graffiti left on the courthouse. That is not to say that this should not be investigated, but the mere appearance of such a publication is hardly a reason for a general appeal from the court,” he added.

The jurors were under strict orders from the judge not to discuss the case with anyone during the trial.

The comment, according to Merchan’s letter, came in response “to a routine UCS notice, issued on May 29, 2024, regarding oral arguments in the Fourth Department of the Appellate Division unrelated to this proceeding.”

The Facebook profile of “Michael Anderson” contains little publicly available information, but the user identifies himself as a “transable and professional poster.”

A Trump campaign official told Fox News Digital late Friday that the campaign was “investigating the matter.”

Other legal experts also stressed the importance of maintaining the integrity of the jury process.

“These are the kinds of things that get a mistrial,” William Trachman, an attorney with the Mountain States Legal Foundation, told Fox News Digital. “And it doesn’t have to be about politics. It can be about justice.”

The allegations against the juror, if true, would call into question “the entire verdict,” Trachman added.


“Any time you have a juror talking about what they’re going to do – especially in the future, like, ‘We’re going to do this thing tomorrow’ – that’s a very serious problem for a jury,” he said. -he adds. “If this is true, it absolutely calls into question the entire verdict.”

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Fox News Digital on Friday that while jury deliberations are “sacred,” a trial could be overturned if “outside influences are brought in.”

“Jury deliberations are sacred, and the defense generally cannot use juror discussions as a basis for a new trial or to appeal, even if jurors misunderstood the facts or the law. An exception, however, is If outside influences come into play, the jury deliberation room,” he said.

Rahmani said that in the event of a mistrial, Trump’s defense team must prove “both improper outside influence and bias.”

“The burden of a retrial, however, is high,” he said. “The defense must demonstrate both improper outside influence and bias that the outcome could have been different.

“One stray comment on social media is not enough for a new trial.”

Judge Juan Merchan instructs jury before deliberations

The comment was posted a day before Trump was convicted on all 34 counts of first-degree falsifying business records. Trump had pleaded not guilty to all charges. (Reuters/Jane Rosenberg)

William Jacobson, a clinical professor at Cornell Law School and founder of the Equal Protection Project, told Fox News Digital that it’s important to “take this seriously but not preempt the facts.”

“Given the importance of this to a potential presidential election, I think if a juror did the things that they are accused of, it is very likely that the judge would have no choice but to overturn the verdict,” did he declare.

Al Baker, a spokesperson for the state OCA, said Friday that “where appropriate, the court notified the parties once it became aware of this online content.”


The comment was posted a day before Trump was convicted on all 34 counts of first-degree falsifying business records. Trump had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial, which lasted six weeks, followed charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Brooke Singman of Fox News contributed to this report.

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