What is wrong with “president” Donald Trump? Yes, it’s a rhetorical question, but the man is clearly out of control. He has been openly and viciously attacking the woman who served as foreperson on Roger Stone’s trial, calling her “biased” and “unfit” to sit on the jury. His third-person tweets show just how unhinged this man is: “She was an activist against Trump. She said bad things about Trump and bad things about Stone. She somehow weaseled her way onto the jury and if that’s not a tainted jury then there is no such thing as a tainted jury.” As usual, Trump shows how little he knows about anything.
The seating of a jury in any trial, civil or criminal, is preceded by something called voir dire. This process allows both the judge and counsel to question a potential juror to determine bias and other issues that might make him or her unfit to sit on a jury. Some of those questions might include whether the potential juror has heard about the case; whether he or she knows the defendant or witnesses; whether he, she, or family members have been subject to criminal prosecution; and so forth (source: azd.uscourts.gov). Even if the answers to any of those questions are “yes,” the judge will ask the potential juror whether he or she can sit without bias. If they again answer yes, they might well be seated on the jury.
Both prosecution and defense have preemptory strikes, and if one of them doesn’t like that potential juror’s answers, they can strike them without cause. They can also strike “for cause” if a compelling reason exists that might prevent a potential juror from fairly listening to the evidence. All of this is to further outline that, once again, Trump has no clue about the very things he rails against. Obviously, Trump has no rational idea just how many people in this country despise him, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with a person’s ability to sit on a jury. Unlike him, we can all remain objective even in our disgust.
Likely, Trump’s real problem with the jury foreperson, who is Tomeka Hart, is her color. On top of that, Ms. Hart works for Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation, is a former educator, donates to Democratic causes, and is an extremely outspoken woman of color against Trump and his racist policies. Hart is a danger to Trump and represents everything he resents: an educated, Black female who has made her presence known. Now, she’s in his bullseye. According to CNN, Hart participated in voir dire, responding to questions posed by Judge Jackson, and neither side objected to her presence even though they were well aware of her social media presence against Trump and his braindead supporters.
Obviously, neither side in this trial had a problem with her, so now, Trump attacks her? Why doesn’t he attack Stone’s lawyers for not using one of their preemptory strikes on her? As always, Trump goes after what he sees as the “easy target,” but he is once again mistaken. We are not Black folks of the 50s who cowered to massa. Trump is merely showing the world once again that he is a complete idiot.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years