(Bloomberg) -- Twelve jurors and one alternate have been selected for Donald Trump’s first criminal trial in New York, where the former president is accused of falsifying business records to conceal a sex scandal before the 2016 election.

On the third day of proceedings, Judge Juan Merchan and attorneys for both sides interviewed dozens of prospective jurors who are among almost 200 brought in since Monday. Another 100 are being called Friday to fill the five remaining slots for alternates. Opening arguments could start in the case as soon as Monday.

Jurors will be tasked with deciding Trump’s fate in the first criminal trial ever against a former president, who also is campaigning to return to the White House in the November election. Trump, who faces three other criminal prosecutions, denies wrongdoing and claims the cases are part of a political “which hunt” against him.

Here are the key takeaways from courtroom proceedings Thursday:  

  • Seven jurors were added to those selected Tuesday. Among them are an Irish immigrant, a nurse, a corporate attorney, an IT consultant and a teacher.
  • Choosing jurors hasn’t been easy, especially when the defendant is a former president who is a divisive political figure and a longtime celebrity in New York. Those selected so far were among 192 vetted since Monday. Most were excused because they said they couldn’t be fair to Trump. “He’s selfish and self-serving,” one woman said. “He’s not my cup of tea.” Trump sat at the defense table listening to each juror being interviewed, often crossing his arms when they said things critical of him, and leaning back when he heard compliments.
  • An early setback in the process occurred early Thursday, when the judge dismissed two of the seven individuals who’d already been chosen Tuesday. One was dropped after prosecutors raised questions about his truthfulness regarding a possible brush with the law in the 1990s. The other said she could no longer be fair to Trump, after being inundated with messages from friends, family and colleagues.
  • Judge Merchan blamed the media for dismissal of the female juror. He ordered news outlets to refrain from disclosing too many identifying details about jurors, whose names are being withheld from the public for their own safety. “We just lost what probably would have been a very good juror in this case,” the judge said. He ordered reporters not to disclose information like a potential juror’s employer, where they live and their prior employment. “It’s become a problem,” Merchan said.
  • Prosecutor Christopher Conroy told Merchan that since the weekend, Trump has violated the judge’s April 1 gag order an additional seven times, including a post Monday before jury selection began. Conroy said “the most disturbing” was a Truth Social post by Trump on April 17 claiming “undercover liberal activists” are “lying to the judge to get on the jury.” Emil Bove, one of Trump’s lawyers, argued Trump is defending himself from attacks online, and that if Trump is reposting statements by others, it’s not a violation. Merchan has agreed to hold a hearing Tuesday to determine if the former president should be fined for contempt in violating the gag order. “We’ll sort it out at the hearing,” Merchan said Thursday.



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