Judge in Trump's hush money trial flags Facebook post that claimed insight into jury deliberations

Justice Juan Merchan informed prosecutors and Donald Trump’s attorneys on Friday about a newly discovered post on the New York court system’s Facebook page from a user who claimed to be the cousin of a juror.

"My cousin is a juror and says Trump is getting convicted,” the user wrote in a week-old comment, according to the judge. “Thank you folks for all your hard work!!!!”

Merchan, who presided over Trump’s recently concluded hush money trial, did not indicate whether the post — which is no longer visible on Facebook — appeared legitimate or may have been the result of a prank. Media efforts to locate the poster indicated that the post likely came from an account associated with someone who appears to be a regular troll of the New York court system’s social media pages.

Merchan’s decision to alert lawyers in a brief letter on Friday afternoon quickly riled up some commentators on the right, who seized on the message as a sign that Trump’s conviction in the hush money case was somehow tainted.

Jurors were under strict orders from the judge not to discuss the case with anyone while the trial was ongoing.

Trump’s lead defense lawyer, Todd Blanche, declined to comment. The office of the Manhattan district attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Merchan said in the letter that the post appeared in a reply to a May 29 notice regarding oral arguments in a New York appeals court “unrelated to this proceeding.”

Neither the post nor the May 29 argument notice is currently visible on the court system’s Facebook page, suggesting that they have been deleted.

The jury in Trump’s trial deliberated from May 28 to May 30 before declaring Trump guilty on all 34 charges he faced. The historic first-ever conviction of a former president found that Trump orchestrated a scheme to cover up a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in the closing weeks of the 2016 election.

It’s unclear whether the user’s comment was posted on May 29 or sometime soon after. It’s also unclear whether court officials have done any work to substantiate the post or whether Merchan simply disclosed it out of an abundance of caution.

There is currently no oral argument notice on the New York court system’s Facebook page dated May 29 of the nature the judge described, but there is a notice that fits the description dated May 20.

In addition to the letter about the Facebook post, Merchan also granted permission Friday for Blanche to attend a pre-sentence interview with a probation officer that Trump is expected to participate in before his July 11 sentencing date.