A state judge in Georgia who’s overseeing the criminal case against former President Donald Trump ordered on MOnday that all of the trial jurors have their identities kept private.
Judge Scott McAfee of Fulton County Superior Court granted a request that was made by Democratic District Attorney Fani Willis, who has brought the case against Trump. She had requested the jurors’ identities be kept private for their safety and to prevent doxxing – which involves someone posting the private contact information of the jurors online and in other outlets.
Willis said this was necessary since the case has such significant publicity surrounding it.
Some media organizations did raise some concerns about the First Amendment regarding Willis’ request. So, McAfee narrows some of the language of these restrictions.
Jurors will now only be allowed to be identified by their number during court proceedings.
His order reads:
“No party shall disclose during the pendency of the trial any juror/prospective juror information that would reveal a juror’s/prospective juror’s identity, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, or identifying employment information.”
In addition, “no person shall videotape, photograph, draw in a realistic or otherwise identifiable manner or otherwise record images, statements or conversations of jurors/prospective jurors in any manner” that would violate the ban that already exists in the court system in Georgia about recording a juror.
Prosecutors in this case raised concerns about juror safety after some of the members of the grand jury – which ultimately voted to indict Trump and 18 other people in the case back in August – received some threats after their names were made public.
In arguing her point, Willis said that the grand jurors’ addressed were published on some online forums run by far-right people and groups. She also said that Willis and her family, as well as some of the other prosecutors in the case, have faced threats as well as doxing.
In the request, Willis’ office wrote:
“Based on the doxing of Fulton County grand jurors and the Fulton County District Attorney, it is clearly foreseeable that trial jurors will likely be doxed should their names be made available to the public.
“If that were to happen, the effect on jurors’ ability to decide the issues before them impartially and without outside influence would undoubtedly be placed in jeopardy, both placing them in physician danger and materially affecting all of the Defendants’ constitutional rights to a fair and impartial jury.”
The first two defendants who are set to face trial are Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro. Their trials are scheduled to start October 23, after they both invoked a right to a speedy trial.
The trial date for the other 16 defendants and Trump haven’t been set by the judge just yet.
In total, there are 41 combined counts that the defendants face in relation to accusations that they entered into a conspiracy that sought to keep Trump in the White House after the 2020 presidential election.
Every defendant who has been charged in the case has pleaded not guilty to all counts.