Legal scholar Alan Dershowitz suggested on Thursday that the judge in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial might have a last-minute strategy to disrupt the jury before they can reach a verdict.

Speaking on his own online program, the Harvard Law School professor emeritus remarked that Merchan’s instructions for alternate jurors to remain available could indicate a potential last-minute swap. Dershowitz suggested that if a single juror refuses to find the former president guilty, Judge Merchan might intervene and replace that juror with an alternate.

“I admit this is highly, highly speculative, but there… I know a case on this, so that I’m not making it up: The judge said he’s not going to dismiss the alternate jurors until there’s an absolute verdict,” Dershowitz said, according to the Daily Caller.

“One possible reason for that, again, I want to emphasize that I’m speculating, one possible reason for this might be following, it is quite cynical: Let’s assume that the jurors come back and say, ‘Sorry we’re, uh, we’re deadlocked. We have one juror who just won’t give in. Well, there are eleven of us who think he’s guilty.’ By the way, the jurors don’t say what they think, they just say there’s a deadlock, but if they come back that way, the inference will be that the jury is, that is, is locked eleven to one in favor of conviction,” he added.


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Dershowitz further noted that if a juror was preventing the 12-member panel from reaching a unanimous verdict and remained steadfast in their position, a resolute judge might consider removing them.

“So the judge hears from the jurors and the judge hears that they’re eleven to one and then the judge says, ‘Well is that other juror, the twelfth juror, is he negotiating? Is he involved in the conversations?’ And the foreman to the jury says ‘No, he’s refusing, he’s sitting there with his arms folded, saying, ‘Guy’s innocent, sorry, guy’s innocent, I’m not going to listen to you. The guy’s innocent, there’s no case here, the guy’s innocent,’” Dershowitz continued.

“If I were on the jury, that’s what I’d be doing, and then the judge has the power, rarely, rarely, exercised, but he has the power, I’ve seen it done, to say ‘Well, if this juror won’t deliberate, then he’s violating his oath, and I’m going to substitute one of the alternate jurors for that juror,’ and then immediately, they come back with a twelve to nothing verdict of conviction,” he added.

Jurors are facing challenges due to the lack of written instructions, a situation that arose after Judge Merchan and the attorneys were unable to reach an agreement on providing them with the 53-page document. As a result, over two days, Judge Merchan has verbally re-read all or parts of the instructions to the jury. Additionally, transcripts from witness testimonies are being withheld, further complicating the jurors’ task.


Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.