Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Two-thirds of D.C. Residents Would Vote to Find Trump Guilty

The first of Donald Trump's four criminal trials, barring a change, is the one in D.C. on March 4, 2024. About 95% of the voters in D.C. are Democrats, so the jury pool is about as bad for Trump as can be. Judge Tanya Chutkan will no doubt do her best in the voir dire to pick an unbiased jury, but it is going to be tough because so many potential jurors already have an opinion about the case.

To put a finer point on it, a new Emerson College poll shows that 64% of D.C. residents think he is guilty, 8% think he is innocent, and 28% are unsure. Chutkan will try to focus on the 28%, of course. However, surely a fair fraction of the 64% are going to answer the question: "Are you able to put aside your personal views of the defendant and base your decision on the facts and the law" in the affirmative. Then what? She can ask who they voted for, but a legitimate answer is: "We have the Australian ballot here in America. I'm not answering that one." She can't reject everyone for cause. With such a skewed jury pool, the chance that Trump is acquitted is close to zero. The best he can realistically hope for is one or two die-hard Trumpists on the jury to hang it. As we have pointed out before (and will probably mention again), while the prosecution and defense lawyers may suggest questions for the voir dire, they don't take part in it in federal trials. The judge does the whole thing.

The poll found that even among D.C. Republicans, Trump is not sure of acquittal. Among them, 36% said they would find Trump guilty, 35% said they would find him innocent, and 33% don't know. It will only get worse during the trial, as multiple witnesses take the stand and say: "I personally conspired with Trump to overturn the election." That might lead to an interesting conversation in the jury room when one holdout is bombarded with, "But we heard seven witnesses say that they personally conspired with Trump to overturn the election. How can you say he didn't do it?"

If the D.C. criminal case goes first, as now seems likely, that sets the stage for the others. Once people have been immersed in "Trump is a convicted felon" stories for weeks, that is sure to influence jurors in the other cases. The holdouts are going to hear: "But we know Trump is a crook already. Why can't you believe he committed multiple crimes?" (V)

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