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Donald Trump reports for jury duty in New York

Published 17/08/2015

Donald Trump gives a fist bump to a pedestrian as he arrives for jury duty in New York (AP)
Donald Trump gives a fist bump to a pedestrian as he arrives for jury duty in New York (AP)

Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump is taking a break from courting voters to go to court as a potential juror.

Mr Trump shook hands and fist-bumped bystanders as he reported for jury duty at a Manhattan court after arriving in a limousine, and walked up the courthouse steps waving.

The Republican front-runner said last week he was "looking forward to appearing".

The 75 or more potential jurors greeted him with murmurs. A court officer escorted him to a seat in the front row.

Mr Trump later took a 20-minute break to talk on his phone in the hall. While returning to the jury assembly room, he took a selfie with a lawyer he encountered and signed a sketch artist's drawing. "Beautiful," he said.

In celebrity-studded New York City, it is not unusual for famous names to be picked to turn up in potential jury pools. Among them have been Caroline Kennedy, Woody Allen, Spike Lee and Madonna.

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," Ms Laracuenta said.

If Mr Trump is not picked for a jury by the end of Monday, he is exempt from jury duty for the next six years. Jurors who do get chosen are told to expect to sit for at least one week, but trials can last for months.

The property mogul and reality TV star had been called previously but did not appear. His campaign said he had not received those summonses. Michael Cohen, special counsel to Mr Trump, said the summonses had been sent to an address where the businessman never lived.

On Sunday, Mr Trump told NBC that he would push to end the constitutionally protected citizenship rights of children of any family living illegally inside the US.

"They have to go," Mr Trump said, adding: "What they're doing, they're having a baby. And then all of a sudden, nobody knows ... the baby's here."

Native-born children of immigrants, even those living illegally in the US, have been automatically considered American citizens since the adoption of the 14th amendment of the US Constitution in 1868.

Mr Trump's remarks came as his campaign website posted his programme for "immigration reform". Among its details are: making Mexico pay for a permanent border wall; mandatory deportation of all "criminal aliens"; and tripling the force of immigration officers by eliminating tax credit payments to immigrant families residing illegally in the US.

He said that families with US-born children could return quickly if deemed worthy by the government. "We're going to try and bring them back rapidly, the good ones," he said.

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