Judge in Trump case flags deleted Facebook post claiming to have advance knowledge of verdict

The judge overseeing the case where former president Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony charges prompted an online stir on Friday evening after he sent a letter to the prosecutors and Trump’s attorneys that flagged a since-deleted online message by someone claiming to have knowledge of the verdict before it was announced.

“My cousin is a juror and says Trump is getting convicted 🎉 Thank you folks for all your hard work !!!!❤️.” the post said, according to the letter sent Friday evening by New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan.

The message was posted on the Facebook page run by the New York State Unified Court System in response to an unrelated court notice, Merchan wrote. The court’s notice was posted May 29 and the message is “now labeled as one week old,” Merchan wrote. The judge’s letter did not specify on what date the message was posted.

Despite the uncertainty of the credibility of the post, court officials said they had an obligation to make both sides aware of the deleted message. “As appropriate, the Court informed the parties once it learned of this online content,” a spokesperson for the court told The Post.

Merchan’s letter identified the person who posted the Facebook message only as “Michael Anderson,” an extremely common name. Screenshots circulating online Friday purported to show the comment that Merchan disclosed. A user on the site calling themselves “Michael Anderson,” who appeared to have the same profile picture as the account in the screenshots, said in a post Friday evening that he is “a professional s—poster,” followed by a laughing-crying emoji. That “Michael Anderson” is an active user in a Facebook group for Trump supporters who routinely posts anti-Biden and pro-Trump memes.

Trump’s right-wing supporters seized on Merchan’s letter to assert that the former president got an unfair trial, with a jury predisposed to conviction.

Trump had sought to move the trial out of Manhattan, claiming, without evidence, that an impartial jury could not be assembled in a part of New York that had overwhelmingly voted against him in the last presidential election. Trump was born in Queens and spent much of his adult life living in Manhattan, gaining fame as a real estate developer and later reality television star, before jumping into politics.

Messages for Trump defense lawyer Todd Blanche and the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) were not immediately returned Friday evening.

Trump was convicted May 30 on charges of falsifying business records to conceal money sent in 2016 to an adult-film actress to prevent her from publicly saying the two had an affair years earlier. Trump has denied the affair as well as any criminal wrongdoing, and his lawyers have said they will appeal the verdict.

Shayna Jacobs, Derek Hawkins and Aaron Schaffer contributed to this report.

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