Georgia judge orders identities of jurors in Trump trial to remain secret

A judge granted Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ request to restrict identifying information about jurors in the Georgia election interference case, a new court filing shows.

In a two-page order Monday in Fulton County Superior Court, Judge Scott McAfee imposed strict restrictions on the identities of jurors involved in an upcoming trial in the case against former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants.

The court’s rules restrict the use of photographic or electronic devices without prior approval from a judge. McAfee’s order provides additional protection by prohibiting drawing in an identifiable manner or otherwise recording images, statements or conversations of jurors or prospective jurors.

The judge also ordered that jurors and potential jurors be identified in court records at trial only by their number and prohibited the disclosure of juror information that would reveal their identity, including names, addresses, phone numbers or identifying employment information.

The McAfee judge allowed exceptions for audio recording the jury foreman’s verdict or questions to the judge.

The order applies to the trial of Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, whose joint trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 23, as well as a subsequent trial of the other 17 defendants, including Trump.

Willis’ office and the attorney for a group of media interveners who opposed the district attorney’s request agreed to the order, Monday’s filing said.

The media coalition, which included the Associated Press, CBS News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had called for a more limited order, arguing that Willis’ request would limit the ability of news organizations to meaningfully report on the jury selection process.

A lawyer for the media coalition declined to comment on McAfee’s order.

Willis filed her request this month to keep jurors’ names and likenesses secret during an upcoming trial. In her filing, Willis asked McAfee to issue an order preventing courtroom cameras from showing jurors and also preventing written descriptions of jurors from being made public.

Willis said that “it was clearly foreseeable” that the trial’s jurors would be pressured if their names were made public, adding that the suppression would jeopardize the jurors’ ability to reach impartial decisions in the case without external influences “The exercise of influence “would place them in both physical and material danger.” The defendant’s entire constitutional right to a fair and impartial jury is compromised.”

Their request came after Trump supporters posted on a fringe website the alleged names and addresses of the grand jurors involved in the indictment filed last month. The indictment listed the names of the grand jury members, but did not list their addresses or other personal information, in accordance with state law.

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