Now that former President Donald Trump has been officially charged with 34 felony counts in New York, it’s time for his defense team to start planning their strategy.
One important aspect of this strategy is likely to be the location of the trial. Right now, the trial is set to be held in Manhattan, which is a very liberal borough of New York City that Trump himself believes wouldn’t be great for him.
Just a few hours before he was arraigned on Tuesday, Trump made a suggestion that the trial against him shouldn’t be held in Manhattan at all, since it’s filled with voters who are overwhelmingly Democratic. He suggested that the trial instead move to another New York City borough, Staten Island, which happens to lean much more Republican.
As the former president posted on his social media platform, Truth Social:
“Very unfair venue, with some areas that voted 1% Republican. This case should be moved to nearby Staten Island – would be a very fair and secure location for the trial.”
During his arraignment on Tuesday, Trump pleaded not guilty to all 34 of the felony counts that he’s facing for allegedly falsifying business records. The charges are all in relation to the hush money payments that were made to Karen McDougal, a former model for Playboy, as well as Stormy Daniels, a former adult film star.
Those payments were made before the 2016 presidential election, and were made so that they would keep quiet about alleged affairs Trump had with them.
Trump and his legal team may be looking at Manhattan as a very challenging place for them to find jurors who they believe would side with the former president at trial. During the 2020 presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden crushed Trump in Manhattan, where he won 87% of the total vote in the borough compared to only 12% for Trump.
Biden also beat Trump handily in three other New York City boroughs – Queens by 72% to 27%; Brooklyn by 77% to 22%; and the Bronx by 83% to 16%.
The story was much different over in Staten Island, though, where Trump garnered 57% of the borough’s total vote compared to only 42% for Biden. Staten Island was a good borough for Trump during his successful 2016 election as well, when he won 57% of the vote there compared to Hillary Clinton, who won 41%.
Many legal experts have said that it’s highly unlikely the trial would be moved simply based upon the past voting records of the residents of New York City’s boroughs. Former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers, for example, recently spoke with Bloomberg News and said:
“The only reason he would try to move the venue to Staten Island is that he thinks – based on voter registration – that that’s a friendlier potential jury pool for him. That’s not going to fly.”
Former U.S. attorney Chuck Rosenberg also gave his thoughts about what Trump’s legal team should be looking for in a jury, saying:
“You’re not looking for a jury that’s never heard of Donald Trump or Stormy Daniels or hush money payments. You’re not looking for a jury or jurors that have no opinions. You’re looking for jurors who can be fair, who can sit in the courtroom, listen to evidence, and follow the instructions of the judge. That’s all you’re looking for.”