Judge in Trump case notifies lawyers about social media post claiming knowledge of jury verdict

MSN  08th Jun 2024

e UCS notice, posted on May 29, 2024, regarding oral arguments” in an unrelated case in the court’s Appellate Division, Merchan wrote.

The Manhattan jury voted unanimously on May 31 – two days after that – to convict the former president of falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the first former U.S. president convicted of a crime.

In his letter, Merchan did not comment on the veracity of the posting or say whether he believes Anderson is a relative of one of the jurors or even a real person. He also did not say whether his description of the posting as “one week old” meant it was actually posted after the verdict, which came down on a Thursday, a week and a day before his letter. And Merchan did not say if court officials were taking any steps to address or investigate it.

Some journalists and former prosecutors immediately shot down the premise that the poster was related to a juror and had heard information about a pending verdict.

MSNBC legal correspondent Katie Phang posted on X, formerly Twitter, that someone identifying himself as Michael Anderson admitted to being “a professional sh*tposter,” or someone who likes to use social media posts to cause trouble, “derail discussions or cause the biggest reaction with the least effort.”

Former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance said Merchan was "smart to advise the parties” about the issue now.

“If it's someone posting with no basis for it as it appears, the record will be clear ... & if there's something to it, good to get it out & do justice," Vance posted on X.

"Why does a clear record matter? Because Trump will raise this on appeal to argue for reversal," Vance wrote. "Now, both sides have notice of this issue & there's an opportunity to get all of the details & facts out so that if there is nothing to this, it won't affect the appeal."

Some Trump supporters immediately circulated news of the posting to claim, without evidence, that Trump didn’t receive a fair trial.

Right-wing agitator Laura Loomer included a screenshot of Merchan's letter in a post on X, formerly Twitter, saying that the news means Trump “could now be entitled to a mistrial because the jury pool was tainted and compromised.”

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, a staunch Trump supporter, wrote on X that the incident suggested that, "The fix was in from the beginning" for Trump. Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee described it as "Mistrial fodder" on X.