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Prosecutors and Defense Lawyers Begin to Seat Jurors for Trump Trial

An Upper East Side investment banker, a high school teacher who likes to sew, a Mexico-born man who listens to podcasts about gay issues, a Harlem woman from a family of police officers and a bookseller who believes “no one is above the law.”

These were just some of the hundreds of New Yorkers who on Tuesday reported to a Lower Manhattan courtroom for jury duty in the first criminal prosecution of a former American president. Depending on their politics, media diets and views on Donald J. Trump, any one could join the group of 12 citizens who will sit in judgment of him.

Not until midafternoon Tuesday did Mr. Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors select the first six jurors for the case, which centers on allegations that the former president falsified documents to cover up a sex scandal involving a porn star. Dozens were dismissed after saying they could not be fair, underscoring the towering task of trying a former president in a city where he is deeply unpopular.

The lawyers reached the heart of the selection process early in the afternoon, when they began bringing individual people from the jury pool back into the courtroom to question them alone as they debated who should be dismissed. But that process was quickly interrupted when the judge, Juan M. Merchan, scolded Mr. Trump for muttering and gesturing while one of the potential jurors was being interviewed.

“I won’t tolerate that,” the judge said, raising his voice once the potential juror had left the room. “I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom.”

The pool of possible jurors came from an initial group of 96, more than half of whom were dismissed immediately on Monday after indicating that they could not fairly reach a decision. Others returned on Tuesday, only to change their minds after taking a night to think about it. “I don’t think I can be as impartial and unbiased as I hoped I could be,” one admitted. Another claimed to have recognized an “unconscious bias” against the former president.

Who Are Key Players in the Trump Manhattan Criminal Trial?

The first criminal trial of former President Donald J. Trump is underway. Take a closer look at central figures related to the case.

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