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A beheading meme and 'Mark Ruffalo, naked' — how 'anti-Trump' posts got 5 New Yorkers booted from the hush-money trial

Donald Trump pouting.
Donald Trump was not laughing during jury selection in his Manhattan hush money trial.

Pool/Getty Images

  • Five potential jurors were challenged on Tuesday for what the defense called 'anti-Trump' posts. 
  • Trump listened as the posts were described, including an AI video titled "I Am Dumb As Fuck Trump."
  • None of the 5 made the jury, especially one who had posted "Lock him up" on Facebook in 2017. 

One was a beheading meme. One was an AI clip titled "Dumb As Fuck Trump." Another was a 2016 get-out-the-vote video featuring Mark Ruffalo promising "to do a nude scene" in his next movie.

So far, five potential hush-money jurors have been shown the door at Donald Trump's hush-money trial after his lawyers complained about these and other "anti-Trump" social media posts.

Many of the posts were quite comical when described in open court. There was even humor in what was not described.

"I don't think that is necessary," New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan deadpanned when defense lawyer Todd Blanche offered to hit play on the "Dumb As Fuck Trump" video.

Trump, who'd been dozing off at the defense table earlier in the day, was often the only one not laughing.

In fact, he was scolded by the judge for being audibly angry after he was forced to watch a prospective juror's video of New Yorkers dancing in the street when he lost the 2020 presidential election.

Seven jurors — four men and three women — have been chosen. Jury selection continues Thursday.

Here, in chronological order, is what happened in court Tuesday as the defense challenged the social media histories of 5 prospective jurors.

1. Dancing in the streets

"So I hear what sounds like a cowbell," noted Merchan, the judge, as he listened to a video posted to Facebook four years ago by a high school teacher and mother of two.

She was the first of the prospective jurors who were challenged by Trump's defense team on Tuesday over their "anti-Trump" social media.

Her Facebook video showed Manhattanites laughing, cheering, and dancing in the streets after Joe Biden's 2020 presidential victory.

Trump had to sit at the defense table and watch as the video was played in court, cowbells and all.

The prospective juror, identified only as "B-133," had clearly "attended an "anti-Trump rally," defense lawyer Susan Necheles protested.

"This is not a rally," countered prosecutor Joshua Steinglass.

"It seemed like a celebratory moment in New York City," the high school teacher stammered when she was called into court to explain the video.

"I mean, I think that was it, I think," she added.

Watching New Yorkers cheer in the streets over his defeat appears to have angered Trump.

"So, Mr. Blanche," the judge told Trump's lawyer, after the prospective juror left the courtroom.

"While the juror was at the podium, maybe 12 feet from your client, your client was audibly uttering something — I don't know exactly what he was uttering," the judge warned.

"I won't tolerate that. I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom. I want to make that crystal clear."

2. "Get him out and lock him up"

Then there were the social media posts of the juror they called "B-38," a middle-aged man from Midtown who works as a creative director for Lands' End.

"Good news," he'd posted on Facebook in 2017, soon after Trump took office. "Trump lost his court battle and his unlawful travel ban."

In another post from around that time, he'd posted, "Get him out and lock him up" and "Watch out for stupid tweets by DJT."

"We cannot have a juror like that on the jury, your honor," Blanche told the judge, reasonably enough.

Called before the judge, the prospective juror admitted, "I had strong feelings at the time."

"This is a person who has expressed, at least at one time, it was several years ago, the desire that Donald Trump be locked up," the judge later explained of his decision to boot B-38 from the jury pool.

"Everyone knows that if Mr. Trump is found guilty in this case, he faces a potential jail sentence, which would be 'lock up.'"

3. "And to get Mark Ruffalo naked"

Eight years ago, celebrities, including Robert Downey Jr., Neil Patrick Harris, and Ruffalo, banded together for a video titled "The Avengers unite against Donald Trump… and to get Mark Ruffalo naked."

Ruffalo very reluctantly promises in the clip to "do a nude scene" in his next movie if people get out and vote.

"They should just vote 'cuz it matters, you know? Don't you think?" the star sheepishly asks, clearly taken by surprise by this commitment he'd been cornered into making.

When it was released in 2016, the clip was shared on the Facebook account of the husband of prospective juror B-330.

Not the prospective juror's own Facebook, mind you. It was shared on the account of the prospective juror's husband.

The husband also posted a meme in 2016 showing Trump and then-President Barack Obama side by side. It was captioned, "I don't think this is what they meant by 'orange is the new black.'"

And finally, the husband had posted, again in 2016, "just a meme of a character holding President Trump's head in their hands," Blanche complained. The head, he said, was severed.

"I guess it is a character from the Simpsons," the judge offered, querulously.

"Yes, your honor," Blanche answered.

"What is the name of this character?" the judge asked.

"I do not know," Blanche answered.

"I do not know either," the judge said.

Steinglass, the prosecutor, complained that the posts were from 2016, and had not been posted by the prospective juror herself, a young woman who works for the city's Economic Development Corporation.

They were clearly "political humor," he added.

The judge, too, was not impressed.

"Honestly," he told the defense, "if this is the worst thing that you were able to find about this juror — that her husband posted this humor, albeit not very good humor, from eight years ago — then it gives me confidence that this juror can be fair and impartial."

4. "I Am Dumb As Fuck Trump"

Just last month — but well before he could have imagined being a juror in the hush money case — a middle-aged employee of the city's Shakespeare & Co. bookstore added some pro-Biden posts to his Facebook account.

They included some Biden-Harris campaign promotions and a news story, headlined, "Trump indicted in documents case."

They also included what Blanche complainingly described as "a one minute and 30-second video, titled "I Am Dumb Fuck Trump."

"This is a parody video," Blanche huffed of the AI-generated clip, "that mocks President Trump the whole time."

When the lawyer offered, "We can play it for your honor," the judge declined.

"I honestly don't remember" the bookseller said, when Blanche asked if he'd watched the video before posting it. "I thought it would be funny. I don't recall watching it."

"Do you have a highly unfavorable overall impression of Donald Trump," Steinglass, the prosecutor, asked.

"I would have to say that politically, yes, I do," the prospective juror answered.

The judge let the defense boot the bookseller for cause.

5. "Boys request to return to cave"

The final prospective juror questioned on their social media posts was a retired grandmother from Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Back in 2018, the bespectacled grandmother of four and former transit employee had posted a meme about the soccer team that was rescued from a cave in Thailand.

"Trump invites Thai boys to White House," the meme read. "Boys request to return to cave."

"Republicans projected to pick up 70 seats in prison," read another meme, taken from the humor newsletter the Borowitz Report, that the same woman also posted at around that time.

"This was from six years ago," the judge complained, when shown the post.

Called before the judge, the grandmother said that after 2018, she stopped posting "anything to do with politics."

"It got too vitriolic for people, people that I've known for years," she explained.

"So yeah, I may have posted this, but I learned a good lesson from it," she added, to laughter and smiles in the courtroom — just not from Trump.

Read the original article on Business Insider