Donald Trump will be taking a break from his contentious bid in the 2016 presidential campaign to appear in court this week.
The GOP candidate, who has many Republicans “worried about their party,” has been summoned to serve in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Monday morning, according to Michael Cohen, an executive vice president at the Trump Organization and special counsel to Mr. Trump.
“Despite running for President and running a massive, multi-billion-dollar company, Mr. Trump will be at jury duty Monday," Alan Garten, general counsel to the Trump Organization, told New York Daily News Friday.
Yet Trump’s appearance won’t disrupt his bid in the Republican presidential nomination. “The campaign will continue to go on,” assures Mr. Cohen. “He is happy to comply with his civic obligation.”
In June, a Manhattan judge fined the real estate mogul $250 for ignoring five jury summonses in the past nine years, reports New York Daily News.
Trump didn’t make the earlier appearances because he never received he summonses - they were sent to someone else’s home, Cohen said.
“Mr. Trump’s failure to appear for previous jury requests was the result of the unified court system’s error in the mailing address, and not Mr. Trump’s refusal to uphold his civic duty,” Cohen told the New York Times, noting that the fine has been waived.
According to the Jury Duty website, anyone who skips jury service will be assigned a new date, without exception. "He's got the same obligation as anyone else to serve when summoned," Mr. Garten said.
If Trump does appear on Monday, he won’t be requested to serve for another six years.
When asked about his court date at a news conference in New Hampshire Friday, the multi-billionaire confirmed that he would fulfill his legal obligation. “Can you believe — I’ll be doing jury duty on Monday morning,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s fun.”
Jury duty isn’t the only "fun" item on Trump’s agenda this week.
On Saturday morning, he went to the Iowa State Fair with plans to give fairgoers free rides on his helicopter from the parking lot, after the fair refused to let him do so on its grounds.
How likely is it that Trump will serve as a juror? A lot will depend on the nature of the specific case and the judges and laywers involved.
New York state repealed all 27 of its former exemptions and disqualifications for jury duty in 1996, according to the New York Times. Some professions which had been exempt prior to the change included lawyers, doctors, and elected officials.
According to federal law, any American citizen over the age of 18 who has lived in a judicial district for a year and can speak, read or write English is required to serve jury duty upon being called on.
The only people that are disqualified from being summoned are those with “mental and physical infirmities that would render him or her incapable of serving” and those who have been convicted or charged of a felony.
While nearly 32 million Americans are summoned for service annually, only 8 million actually report for jury duty, according to the latest numbers published in a 2007 survey by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).
Only 1.5 million people – less than one percent of the American adult population – are eventually selected to serve on a jury in a state court each year.
The NCSC says the large difference is due to the 4 million summonses returned by the post office marked as undeliverable and the 3 million people who fail to appear every year.