Sizing up my audience as Trump jurors and my solution to speed up jury selection
Emil Amok!

Sizing up my audience as Trump jurors and my solution to speed up jury selection

Asian Americans should be represented on the Trump jury
/ 06:24 AM April 19, 2024

Trump Hush money

Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of proceedings during jury selection at Manhattan criminal court, Thursday, April 18, 2024 in New York. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool Photo via AP)

It’s my last few days in New York City, and my last shows of “Emil Amok, Lost NPR Host, Wiley Filipino, Vegan Transdad.”

And while I’d like you to be a part of the audience for my shows, live in NY or livestreamed from home, I’d rather you were in the historic jury who will decide the fate of the first former president ever to face a criminal trial.

Of course, Asian Americans should be represented on the Trump jury. As I said earlier this week, watch any courtroom TV drama, it is our stereotype.

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But so far jury selection has been a frustrating process, slow, then slower, then fast again.

By day two there were seven jurors selected. No Asians. But by day 3, two were excused for varying reasons. One disliked the lack of anonymity. She was an oncology nurse getting hounded by relatives. But her main fear was being a target for zealous MAGA-types who see her as holding Trump’s fate in her hands.

The other dismissed juror is an IT worker of Puerto Rican descent who had issues with the background check.


By late afternoon, two jurors were named to replace them. Then five more were reported selected by CNN.

That’s 12, plus an alternate, 13.

But going into Friday, who knows when we will get to the magic number of 18: 12 jurors and 6 alternates.


My solution

Fortunately, for you the NFL, not football but the National Forensic League, high school debate topic during one of my years at San Francisco’s Lowell High School was, “Resolved: Should the jury system be significantly changed.”

And from that one sentence, I recall a solution to the Trump jury slowdown.

Select 12 jurors and 6 alternates from the voter rolls like Powerball numbers.

Juror numbers on ping-pong balls. Totally random.

Randomness is the key. It makes public opinion polls scientific. Without randomness, polls are valueless. So let that trait be used in jury selection. People randomly selected and empaneled from the beginning.

You start with your 18 finalists, and then you excuse people based on their answers to poll questions, as well as allowing attorneys to use their “strikes” to remove jurors.

In New York, they each have ten challenges, which have been exhausted.

Maybe in the Emil Jury Solution, we’ll increase the challenges from 10 to 15.

But no matter where you are in the process, you’ll always have 12 jurors and 6 alternates. You are done when you say you’re done.

If the judge really wants the opening statements to start Monday as he says, he never has to worry. He has a full set of 18 empaneled and ready to go.

In my plan you can impose as strict or as loose a time limit as you want, say two days, or maybe a week. People can act diligently against the clock. But no matter what, at the end of the period, you’ll have your 18. No lagging delays possible. As one juror is challenged or excused, he/she gets replaced, a full box is already assembled.

Is the Emil Juror Plan fair? Science says so. And the attorneys still get their say. We just don’t have to worry about filling out the box in a reasonable time. We start with 12 jurors and 6 alternates. That saves time, and the lack of time is the enemy of the courts. The time for processes to unfold causes stultifying delays. Not just for this case, but for every other case in line.

To put it in terms Donald Trump may understand, at a golf course no one likes a slow-playing foursome.

Same thing in court, anything that speeds up the process, the faster we all get to justice.

But will randomness yield an AAPI or two?

Among the jurors selected as I write is an Irish immigrant who will serve as the foreman. There’s a black woman, a teacher from Harlem. The race of the other jurors picked isn’t clear from the reported descriptions I’ve seen. But one is an investment banker who has read “Art of the Deal” and is on Truth Social.  I’d be concerned. Could he be the one holdout Trump needs?

Aside from that, are there any Asians? Not clear.

Why does it matter? We don’t need someone to add up the $130,000 in hush money. But we do need a sense that Trump is facing all New Yorkers. Not just members of the business class. Not just the Upper East side elite. A broad base of New Yorkers.

Besides, when you say “the people of New York” vs. Donald Trump what does it mean when you don’t see someone who looks like you?

Representation is necessary.  Whatever the verdict, if the jury reflects the people, we enter the trial seeking justice in good faith. That’s fair for everyone involved right at the start.

Emil Amok

Emil Amok’s final shows

I’m not picky about the jurors in my audience. But Filipino doctors seem to like my show.

One of them, Dr. Mariliz Guerrero-Policarpio is a radiologist with offices in Brooklyn. She came to my  show “Emil Amok, Lost NPR Host, Wiley Filipino, Vegan Transdad”  last week at Under St. Marks Theater (94 St. Marks Place) with her two college-age daughters.

“I found the show comical and enjoyed the storytelling,” she said. “People around me were laughing out loud.”

The show also goes into Asian American Filipino history and I asked her if she knew about any of it going back to the 16th century.

Her college-age daughters knew some, but she did not.

“Embarrassed to say I didn’t know,” she said. “It was enlightening for me.”

And Dr. Guerrero-Policarpio is a born-here American Filipino like me. She’s not an immigrant, but the success story of two proud immigrant parents during the late ‘50s. A product of the New York Public Schools, she was in a special pre-med focused program growing up in Queens. One of the problems with one-track programs geared toward success. Sometimes Asian American history gets left out. And where do you get it if not at school?

“Now I know a little about the history, thanks to you,” she said after seeing my one-man show.”

Dr. Mariliz Guerrero-Policarpio  saw “Emil Amok.”

I’d say she was reasonable, fair and impartial.

Coincidentally, they’re the kind of qualities that would make a great Trump juror.

There’s still time to be in the “Emil Amok” jury.

Friday night, April 19,  at 8:10 p.m. Eastern

Sunday night April 20, at 5:20 p.m. Eastern

See it live at 94 St. Marks Place in New York City.

Or stream it from home.

It’s the final days of the New York City Fringe Festival. Don’t miss my final two shows.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator, who shapes his columns into his comic one-man shows at fringe festivals around the country. See him on and on

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