Trump complains jury selection moving too fast in Manhattan hush money trial

NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump complained Wednesday about jury selection in his Manhattan hush money case as the trial moves faster than expected toward opening statements.

After prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed on a surprisingly robust total of seven jurors in one day, Trump sought to tap the brakes on the process that seemed to be going remarkably smoothly.

The first former president to face a criminal trial said he should be allowed to reject as many jurors as he wants if he suspects the Manhattan residents aren’t going to give him a fair shake.

“I thought STRIKES were supposed to be “unlimited” when we were picking our jury?” Trump wrote on his social media site. “I was then told we only had 10, not nearly enough.”

He denounced Manhattan as the “2nd worst venue” for a trial, apparently comparing it with Washington, D.C., where he will face a separate federal election interference trial.

So far, Trump’s defense and prosecutors have each used six out of 10 allowed so-called strikes to dismiss jurors they suspect may be problematic for their side.

Trump and his supporters have complained for weeks that the Manhattan trial was unfair because it would take the presumptive Republican presidential nominee off the campaign trail for too long.

Now that Judge Juan Merchan appears to be shepherding the trial faster than expected, he has flip-flopped to complaining about it being a rush job.

“He’s rushing this trial, doing everything he can for the Democrats,” Trump told reporters late Tuesday.

Some legal analysts predicted it would take a couple of weeks or more to pick a jury in the case. Now it looks like they could finish this week, in time for the trial to kick off in earnest on Monday.