NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took a break from courting voters to go to court as a potential juror.
Trump shook hands and fist-bumped bystanders as he reported for jury duty Monday at Manhattan Supreme Court. He arrived in a stretch limousine — about 10 minutes late — and made his way up the steps through the crush of media and onlookers, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
“I look forward to it, something we have to do,” Trump, 69, told Schuck on the way inside.
But when asked if he was looking forward to being chosen for a case, Trump said, “Not particularly, but we’ll see what happens.”
He was not selected as a juror and was released at around 4 p.m.
Trump was being required to serve the full day, but all prospective jurors Monday are being exempt from the two-day requirement, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
The real estate mogul and reality TV star has been called previously for jury duty but didn’t appear. A spokesman said Trump never got the summonses because they had been sent to the wrong address.
He failed to appear after being sent summonses in March 2006, September 2006, May 2008, June 2013 and February 2015, a court official told CBS2’s Scott Rapaport. A noncompliance hearing was scheduled for March, but Trump did not appear for that, either, and a $250 default judgment was entered against him, the official said.
A spokesperson explained in a statement:
“Mr. Trump did not receive the previous summons as they were sent to the wrong address. The fine was waived and he is pleased to fulfill his civic duty.”
Trump’s attorney then called the court to clear up the matter and agreed that Trump would serve Monday, the court official said.
Inside the courthouse, Trump apparently jumped ahead of the long line of potential jurors.
“He stood on line for like two minutes, and then he skipped everybody,” Nia Golden, of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
A court officer escorted him to a seat in the front row, and court officers’ union President Dennis Quirk said a special team of uniformed and plainclothes officers was brought in to help handle the media presence while ensuring all regular posts were covered. Quirk said that was standard for any high-profile person.
Jury assembly supervisor Irene Laracuenta told the possible jurors that their commitment would be either one day or one civil trial, depending on whether they were selected.
“No one — no one — gets special treatment,” Laracuenta said.
If Trump isn’t picked for a jury by the end of Monday, he’s exempt from jury duty for the next six years.
At one point Monday, four uniformed court officers guarded the entrance to a hallway as Trump used a 20-minute midmorning break to talk on his phone in the hall. He took a selfie with an attorney he encountered and signed a sketch artist’s drawing as he headed back into the jury assembly room.
Unlike others in the jury room, Trump did not bring a laptop or anything to read. He even dozed off a bit, Papa reported.
When Papa asked Trump during his lunch break if he was bored, he answered: “No, it’s a system, and we go through it. And it’s a great system. It’s a system that works, and they do a fantastic job, and I’ve met some fantastic people.”
Also on his lunch break, Trump strolled through Duane Reade.
Some fellow potential jurors said they are skeptical about his motives.
“Just indicates his character. Probably more motivated by the publicity than anything else, but I could be biased,” said Mia Everett, of Fort Greene, who admitted she probably won’t vote Trump.
Outside the courthouse, Trump supporter Joe Lepore, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, hoped to see the presidential hopeful up close.
“He put out his right fist. He gave me a fist bump,” Lepore said. “I got a fist bump by the future president of the United States!”
Even some people who are not Trump supporters wanted to catch a glimpse of the celebrity candidate.
“My windows happen to overlook the courthouse, so I saw the commotion and I wanted to see if I could have a brush with fame,” Mercedes Fernandez, who says she’s a registered Republican, told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
When asked what she would think of Trump as president, she said: “I think he’d be a lunatic. We don’t need that in the White House.”
Some bystanders, meanwhile, protested his position on immigration, saying they need jobs, too.
Eric and Jennifer Myxteriino say they will never forget the day at the courthouse where they were headed to get married. They say they recognized Trump by his hair.
“I saw his hair and I said ‘what’s Trump doing here?'” they exclaimed.
Over the years, many celebrities have been called for jury duty in New York City. They include Madonna, Spike Lee and Woody Allen.
Former mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani both were called while in office.
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