July 25, 2024

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A ‘Professional’ Troll Could Complicate Trump’s Hush-Money Conviction

About 24 hours before a Manhattan jury made Donald Trump the first-ever former president to become a convicted felon — a person going by the name “Michael Anderson” made a little-noticed Facebook comment.

“Thank you for all your hard against the MAGA crazies!” he wrote in a comment on an unrelated post on the official page of the New York State Unified Court System.

“My cousin is a juror on Trumps criminal case and they’re going to convict him tomorrow according to her. Thank you 🙏 New York courts!!!! ❤️”

In a Friday afternoon letter, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who presided over the trial, alerted prosecutors and Trump’s defense lawyers about the comment.

“Today, the Court became aware of a comment that was posted on the Unified Court System’s public Facebook page and which I now bring to your attention,” Merchan wrote.

juan merchan trump juror comment letter

A portion of the Friday filing from New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan.

New York courts

But it’s far from clear that the comment is genuine.

Anderson — if that is his real name — claims to be a troll.

Business Insider located the Facebook comment, which was timestamped 4:39 p.m. on May 29, a day before the jury verdict. It was made in response to an unrelated Facebook post about a program from the New York state court system to promote diversity.

“Now we are married ❤️ 😁,” he posted in response to another Facebook comment, which criticized his purported cousin.

michael anderson facebook screenshot

A screenshot of Michael Anderson’s Facebook comment.


On his Facebook page, Anderson describes himself as “Transabled & a professional shit poster.” His profile picture is an image claiming his account is restricted. His cover photo broadcasts the slogan: “Facebook: Wasting peoples lives since 2004.”

Few posts are publicly visible on Anderson’s page. Visible ones appear to be food videos and comedic Reels, a product from Facebook owner Meta that seeks to emulate TikTok videos.

michael anderson facebook screenshot

Michael Anderson’s Facebook page describes him as a “professional shitposter.”


“As appropriate, the Court informed the parties once it learned of this online content,” Al Baker, a spokesperson for the New York State Unified Court System, told Business Insider, declining to comment further on the incident.

Trump lawyers Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles, as well as representatives for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

Anderson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent through Facebook, but in a public post added to his profile shortly after BI reached out, he wrote, “Take it easy, I’m a professional shitposter,” along with a laughing emoji and the Wikipedia definition of shitposting.

While it remains unclear how significant the Facebook post will become during the proceedings leading up to Trump’s sentencing, it could complicate things.

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, told BI that the social post, though apparently trolling, could raise questions about whether outside influences managed to find their way into the jury deliberation room, which is one of the few times the defense could use jury deliberations as grounds to appeal for a new trial.

However, he said, the burden for a new trial is high and would require the defense to show an outside influence prejudiced the jury enough that the outcome may have been different without exposure to it.

“A stray comment on social media is not enough for a new trial,” Rahmani said. “But if the defense can get a declaration from a juror that they discussed the case with family members, then Judge Merchan would hold an evidentiary hearing to examine the juror to determine whether the improper influence and prejudice took place.  I don’t think a statement from the family member is enough if it’s not supported by a juror affidavit.”