NEW YORK – Billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reported for jury duty in New York on Monday in a black limo, signing autographs and giving a fist-bump to a supporter as he took a break from the campaign trail.
Trump, the front-runner in a crowded Republican field, appeared in Manhattan Supreme Court to join fellow New Yorkers to possibly be selected to cast a verdict in a trial.
Arriving in a limousine, Trump, 69, was greeted by a throng of reporters and television crews numbering around 100 people, fist-bumping a supporter on his way into the courthouse.
He left for a lunch break through an even larger crowd, signing autographs and taking the occasional question on his way down the courthouse stairs to his limo.
Asked how he thought his campaign was going, Trump said: “Really good.”
The real estate mogul’s jury service came after a state judge earlier this year fined him $250 for failing to respond to summonses to serve jury duty five times since 2006.
Trump’s representatives say the fine was ultimately waived and say the prior summonses had been sent to a wrong address for the former star of NBC’s “The Apprentice.”
Michael Cohen, an executive vice president and special counsel to the Trump Organization, said if Trump had received the notices he would have complied.
“Any assertion that Mr. Trump doesn’t take his civic responsibilities seriously is absolutely false and only being used as an attempt to discredit his stellar reputation,” he said in a statement.
Once inside the court, Trump sat in the jury room with some of the 150 potential jurors called on Monday to possibly serve on trials in civil lawsuits.
With the presidential candidate in a front-row seat, a jury supervisor, Irene Laracuenta, reminded those in attendance of their responsibilities, noting “everyone has some other place they want to be.”
During a break, Trump made phone calls in a hallway the court provided him away from reporters and other jurors that was guarded by two officers.
“Everyone has a right to their own privacy,” Dennis Quirk, president of the New York State Court Officers Association, told reporters.
As the break finished, Trump took a selfie with a lawyer and autographed a court artist’s sketch. Going back into the jury room, he waved as someone shouted: “Mr. Trump, save this country, will you?”
Back in the jury room, Trump followed the pattern other fellow potential jurors, crossed his arms across his chest and appeared to doze off for several minutes.
Trump’s service is expected to last one day unless he is picked for a trial.
He joins a long list of celebrities to report for jury duty in the New York courts, following Madonna, Caroline Kennedy and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Outside of New York, former President George W. Bush earlier this month was passed over for a breach-of-contract trial in Dallas state court.
In April, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts appeared for jury duty at his local courthouse in Maryland but was not picked to serve in a trial.