Trump trial updates: 'We have our jury,' Judge Merchan declares after turbulent day in court

Six alternate jurors still need to be chosen, but the judge indicated he hoped opening arguments in the case could begin on Monday.

Donald Trump.
Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of proceedings during jury selection at Manhattan Criminal Court Thursday. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

This is Yahoo News' succinct update on the criminal and civil cases against former President Donald Trump. Here are the latest developments:

🚨 What happened today

In a day that began with the dismissal of two jurors due to concerns over privacy and honesty, seven new jurors were seated ahead of Trump's trial on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, bringing the total to 12.

"We have our jury," Judge Juan Merchan declared, though six alternate jurors still need to be selected prior to opening arguments in case one of the 12 seated jurors takes ill or is unable to continue during the trial.

Prosecutors also asked the judge to hold the former president in contempt over a series of social media posts made about trial witnesses. Trump also received a mild rebuke after he was seen briefly using his cellphone on Thursday in violation of courtroom rules.

📌 Tell me more

  • Shortly after jury selection resumed Thursday morning, Merchan informed lawyers for both sides that a juror who had been sworn in on Tuesday was dismissed.

  • The juror, an oncology nurse, told the judge that aspects of her identity had been publicly revealed, and that she felt intimidated by the press.

  • Merchan told the media to refrain from publishing information that could reveal the identities of jurors, especially given the historic nature of the case. “There's a reason this is an anonymous jury," he said.

  • Prosecutors then raised an issue about a second juror, saying that he may not have answered the jury questionnaire accurately regarding prior arrests, and that juror was also dismissed.

  • But a new panel of potential jurors went through the process of completing a jury questionnaire and being questioned by lawyers for both sides, and shortly before court adjourned for the day, seven new jurors were seated.

  • In the process, Trump's lawyers used all of their 10 strikes, which allows them to dismiss a potential juror without providing a reason, and unsuccessfully asked the judge to block others.

  • Read more about the jury selection process here.

Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of jury selection inside Manhattan Criminal Court.
Trump awaits the start of Thursday's proceedings. (Jeenah Moon/Pool Photo via AP)
  • Earlier in the day, prosecutors again asked for Trump to held in contempt and fined over a series of social media posts that they say violate the gag order imposed on him.

  • Merchan will hear arguments on the matter next week.

  • Trump — who is required by law to attend the trial — was also seen using his cellphone at the defense table, openly flouting the rules of the courtroom.

  • The former president’s lawyer Todd Blanche told him to stop, and Trump put his phone away.

  • Jury selection for six alternate jurors will continue Friday morning, but Merchan said he was hopeful that opening arguments in the trial could begin on Monday.

📖 The background

⚖️ Trump's trials and legal cases