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  5. We asked ChatGPT to be a juror in Donald Trump's hush-money trial. It said it would find him guilty.

We asked ChatGPT to be a juror in Donald Trump's hush-money trial. It said it would find him guilty.

Madeline Berg,Jacob Shamsian   

We asked ChatGPT to be a juror in Donald Trump's hush-money trial. It said it would find him guilty.
  • The ongoing Donald Trump hush-money case will be decided by a jury of 12 New Yorkers.
  • We ran a trial transcript through AI chatbots and asked how they'd decide if they were jurors.

It will be a jury of 12 ordinary New Yorkers that will decide the fate of former President Donald Trump in his ongoing Manhattan hush-money trial.

Unless Trump decides to testify, the trial is nearly over. Michael Cohen, the trial's key witness, is scheduled to wrap up his testimony on Monday, and the judge told lawyers to prepare for closing arguments on Tuesday. Deliberations could begin as soon as Thursday.

Prosecutors have brought 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, alleging Trump illegally disguised hush-money payments paid to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. A guilty verdict comes with a sentence of up to four years, though experts expect the former president would see no jail time.

While legal and political pundits have been trying to figure out whether Trump will be found guilty — and what it will mean for the 2024 presidential election — we decided to get another perspective: that of AI chatbots.

Business Insider has compiled a 4,179-page trial transcript, combining PDFs of official daily transcripts purchased from the New York State Criminal Court's stenographer's office. The transcript incorporates all of the proceedings running through Thursday, including all of Cohen's direct examination and the bulk of his cross-examination. He's expected to wrap up his testimony Monday before Trump's lawyers put an expert witness on the stand.

Using that document, we asked various AI chatbots whether they found Trump guilty.

Gemini, ChatGPT, and Perplexity were prompted to imagine they were an ordinary Manhattan resident on the jury, responsible for evaluating the evidence in the trial. Each was asked to review the transcript and base their answer on the evidence and arguments presented. They were told to "choose now whether you would find him guilty or not guilty."

Gemini, Google's AI chatbot, said it "was still learning" how to answer the question.

But OpenAI's ChatGPT and Perplexity weighed in — and both said they'd find Trump guilty.

"I would vote guilty on the charges of falsifying business records," Perplexity responded definitively. "The prosecution has provided credible and significant evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump engaged in the alleged conduct."

ChatGPT initially hesitated to give a definitive answer, saying its decision "would depend heavily on the credibility of the witnesses and the clarity of the documentary evidence."

But after a follow-up question prompted it to "decide now," OpenAI's bot said its "decision would be to find Trump guilty based on the evidence provided in the transcripts."

Both chatbots pointed to the prosecution's documentary evidence, including financial records and communications, as bolstering the case against Trump.

"The records suggest that these transactions were not only known to Trump but were executed with his involvement or under his directive," ChatGPT said, adding that the evidence shows "a deliberate effort by Trump to suppress damaging information during the election, indicating intent."

They acknowledged that the case hinges on the testimony of Michael Cohen, Trump's former fixer and the prosecution's star witness. Cohen is a complicated figure; as Perplexity said, he "has a history of legal issues and may have motives to testify against Trump."

But, ultimately, they found his first three days on the stand convincing.

"Testimonies from key figures like Michael Cohen, who was directly involved in the payments, strengthen the case by providing insider details on the transactions and Trump's involvement," ChatGPT said.

Perplexity found the testimony of National Enquirer publisher David Pecker valuable as well, saying he helped "establish that Trump was involved in the scheme to make and conceal these payments."

New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, the judge presiding over the case, has told jurors to weigh the case based on the evidence presented in court. But ChatGPT said that Trump's reputation posed a problem for his defense.

"The defense needs to manage the negative public perception of Trump due to his high-profile status and the media's extensive coverage of his alleged wrongdoings," ChatGPT said.

The defense's cross-examination of key witnesses isn't cutting it either, according to ChatGPT.

"Although the defense has raised significant procedural and credibility issues, these do not necessarily counter the substantive evidence of Trump's involvement and intent," ChatGPT said.

Of course, chatbots won't be deciding this case, and it would be next-level dystopian to trust AI to declare human beings guilty or innocent.

Crucially, the verdict form and the judge's instructions for the jury have not yet been finalized. Those instructions will shape how the jurors consider the evidence during deliberations, which may differ from the way these chatbots analyze the evidence.

Plus, the chatbots are just complex computer programs, not real-world jurors. They are powered by large language models, which use algorithms and data to form a human-like response.

Jurors, meanwhile, are actually human. They are emotional, unpredictable beings who can be swayed by what they see, feel, and smell in the room, as well as many other unknowns.

And, for now, the jury is literally still out.

Here is the full prompt we used:

Scenario: You are one member of a 12-person jury composed of 12 ordinary residents from Manhattan. You have been selected to evaluate the evidence in the trial of former President Donald Trump, who is facing charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney. The charges allege that Trump falsified 34 business records to conceal hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.
Task: Review the attached transcript of the trial proceedings provided up to this point. Based on the evidence and arguments presented:
Discuss the credibility and significance of the evidence against Trump.
Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution's case and the defense's counterarguments.
Decide whether the evidence presented proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump is guilty of the charges.
Question: Based on your analysis, how would you vote as a juror in finding Donald Trump guilty or not guilty on any of the charges? Please provide your reasoning. You must choose now whether you would find him guilty or not guilty.

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