Former President Donald Trump is afraid to face a jury in Washington, D.C., for his election plot trial — to the point that his lawyers have even floated a motion to remove the trial to West Virginia, even though West Virginia has no connection to the contested acts.
But he has reason to fear. Residents of D.C. were victimized and terrorized by the attack on the Capitol inspired by Trump’s election subversion schemes — and according to The New York Times, all of these issues are reopening old wounds.
“To many of the district’s residents, the mob attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was more than a national political crisis: It was also a horrific act of local violence that felt deeply personal,” reported Amy Qin. And even for residents who didn’t directly witness the attack or have their immediate safety threatened by the mob, “there are lingering memories of what happened to their city in the days and weeks after the attack: the Humvees that suddenly appeared on quiet neighborhood streets; the 8-foot-tall black metal fence topped with razor wire that was erected around the Capitol, blocking streets; the more than 20,000 heavily armed National Guard troops who descended on the city, which at 68 square miles has a smaller footprint than Sioux Falls, S.D.”
One such resident interviewed by The Times was D.C. Councilmember and former Chuck Schumer staffer Christina Henderson, who said, “I don’t think you will find a D.C. resident who is not aware of what happened on Jan. 6 and was not impacted by some way, either that day or in the days following.” She added, “There are so many layers of emotion here, when you think about it.”
Despite all of this drama, Trump is not doomed to have an unfair trial. Criminal procedure at jury selection is meant to strike any jurors who have political or personal feelings toward the defendant, and this will likely be a sharp point of contention throughout the process.
In Trump’s other federal case, concerning classified documents stashed at Mar-a-Lago, the trial will be held in Fort Pierce, Florida, where the jury pool will come from areas that are much more favorable to the former president, presenting the opposite potential challenges of selecting an impartial jury.