Trump's trial in NY for business fraud--why is there no jury?

Google told me repeatedly that it’s a bench trial, but I couldn’t find why it’s a bench trial…
So,(even though I’m sure it’s been discussed before,) will somebody please explain to me?

It seems to me that in all of his upcoming trials, the facts are clearly not in his favor, so Trump’s best hope is to pray that the jury has one MAGA cult believer who refuses to look at the facts, and votes “not guilty”.

I think all his other trials will be with juries…so why did he not demand a jury for this one too?

It only takes one person to make a hung jury, and then Trump can shout that he was found innocent in court. Even if it’s not true–he will declare it in capital letters on his Truth Social tweets, and half the country will believe him.

But since this is a bench trial, Trump won’t have that opportunity to re-claim his dignity. And since it’s likely to end with the dissolution of his companies, and total destruction of Trump’s entire image of being a successful billionaire, this trial is probably more important to him that the other trials.

The lawyer fucked up and forgot to check the “I would please like a jury trial box.”


Medias Touch is incredibly biased but is solid on the facts they present.

My quotation mark above is clearly misplaced but I apparently can’t edit a post with embedded media. :person_shrugging:

Does this create a legitimate claim regarding ineffective assistance of counsel?

Obviously a party can attempt any claim they want. In this specific circumstance, is the attorney’s oversight a plausible basis on which such an argument might be sustained?

It’s civil fraud. Ineffective assistance of counsel appeals are only available in criminal cases.

My guess is that his attorneys decided his reputation in New York is now so shot that he has a better chance with a judge.

Ah, thank you, forgot that wrinkle.

Following up on @Really_Not_All_That_Bright, is it that his lawyers “fucked up” or is it that they simply didn’t ask for a jury trial because they made a calculated decision that they’d stand a better chance in from of a New York judge than a New York jury?

I don’t intend to watch the video.

One lawyer, who previously alleged that the classified documents found in Mar-A-Lago may have been planted by the FBI.

And was sanctioned for a frivolous lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.

If I was handed any calculation from her, I’d check the math.

He is also being represented by at least one other attorney in the civil fraud case, Christopher M. Kise. So, lawyers.

None of which sheds light on whether the bench trial was due to a strategic decision, or an oversight. My understanding, by the way, is that it’s not especially uncommon for parties to opt for a bench trial where complex legal issues are involved.

Habba evidently is the one responsible for the lack of jury trial, though.

The (generally rabidly “anti-Trump”) sources tend to suggest both that the bench trial “box” was checked and that the jury demand was “too late.” I can’t easily find the docket sheet online (and state court dockets tend to be less readily available).

If there was an untimely demand filed, then you can reasonably conclude that there was a mistake. If they simply didn’t demand a jury (or affirmatively waived a jury), I’m not sure you can draw an informed conclusion. A New York County jury pool is likely going to be less appealing than Florida or Georgia.

Edit: Actually, I did find the docket here, but I can’t tell if anything was filed. The Answer does not include a jury demand.

But it is still a pool–i.e. a group, not one individual person.An individual judge in N Y is almost certainly not a MAGA cultist. A group of 100 citizens in the jury pool will probably have a couple MAGATs, even in NY.
Seems like the better choice.Two out of 100 is better than none.

Are all of Trump’s lawyers so stupid? And how/why has Trump not shouted about it in tweets? “IT’s A Witch Hunt!!!They’re depriving me of a jury trial!!! IT’S RIGGED!!!I’ll come after them!!!LOCK UP the judge!!!”

This trial follows the judge’s ruling that he committed fraud, it’s been described as the penalty phase of this case. I would think at this part of the trial, determining the damages he’ll be ordered to pay, a New York jury would not be thinking of low numbers.

Could the judge have made that initial ruling that pre-empted a trial on the question of fraud if Trump had asked for a jury trial?

With the silly pejoratives, it doesn’t seem all that interesting to continue this. But deciding between a bench and jury trial is a complicated (and imperfect) art form.

One obvious distinction is that a New York civil jury is 6 people and requires 5/6 jurors to find liability. Criminal juries are bigger and must be unanimous.

The earlier ruling was on summary judgment. Which the court enters as a matter of law, because there are not disputed material facts. The court can do that without a jury, even in a jury case.

Well, thanks for looking, but as you note while a late jury demand might well indicate an error by the legal team, absent such a smoking gun, it could just as easily, if not more easily, be that this was a strategic decision in a complicated case where the jury pool is unlikely to be favorable in any event.

So I think we agree the mere absence of a jury demand by itself isn’t conclusive evidence of a mistake. Perhaps I’ll poke around after work.

I’m thinking a typical NYC jury “of his peers” would not include a lot of multi-multi-millionaires sympatheic to the idea of fudging numbers in the hundred-million range. His penthouse - alleged to be 30,000sf and actually “only” 11,000sf probably wouldn’t elicit jury sympathy either. And remember he had a full page ad calling for extreme punishment for the (eventaully exonerated) Central Park 5.

I agree it was probably a strategic decision.

If you assume for the moment that judges and jury members vote the same way as people in New York City did in 2020 generally (i.e., 12.2% for Trump), the chance of a single judge being a Trump voter is of course 12.2% but the chance of at least two out of six jurors being Trump voters is about 40.7%. In reality, the jury pool is likely to break reasonably close to those numbers. However, judges are sure to lean much more Democratic than that in a very blue city in a very blue state. It seems to me that a trial by jury should have been a no-brainer and Trump’s lawyers made a mistake in going for a bench trial.

Of course voting for Trump in an election three years ago doesn’t necessarily guarantee deciding for Trump in a trial today.

Possibly not - if I were his lawyer, I would be afraid that any pro-Trump people in the jury pool would reveal their bias during voir dire and get thrown out of the pool. And I said pro-Trump because how someone voted in 2020 doesn’t necessarily tell you how they will decide this case - but currently being pro-Trump probably does

Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I make it about 46% chance of there being no Trump voters on a jury of six chosen at random and 38% chance of there being exactly one, so only 16% chance of there being two or more. Still it might be better than a random NY judge.

But a judge is (presumably, in theory) going to be less likely to disregard the law. So it’s not just a straight probability of bias, but specifically of bias plus susceptibility to bias.