Georgia judge orders jurors’ identities to stay secret during Trump election trial

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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, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee imposed strict limits regarding the identities of jurors involved in any trial in the case against former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants.

The court’s standing rules restrict using photographic or electronic equipment without a judge’s consent. McAfee’s order offers additional protections by prohibiting drawing in an identifiable manner or otherwise recording images, statements or conversations of jurors or prospective jurors.

He further ordered that jurors and prospective jurors be identified only by their numbers in court filings while the trial is pending, and he prohibited disclosing juror information that would reveal their identities, including names, addresses, telephone numbers or identifying employment information.

McAfee allowed exceptions for recording audio of the jury foreperson’s announcement of a 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, and a subsequent trial for the 17 other defendants, including Trump.

Willis' office and the counsel for a group of media intervenors who had opposed her request consented to the order, Monday's filing notes.

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

An attorney for the media coalition declined to comment on the order.

Willis asked this month to keep jurors’ names and likenesses secret during any coming trial. In her filing, Willis asked McAfee to issue an order that would prevent courtroom cameras from showing the jurors and prevent publishing written descriptions of the jurors.

Willis said "it is clearly foreseeable" that jurors would be doxxed if their names were made publicly available, adding that doxxing would jeopardize jurors' ability to make impartial decisions without external influence, "both placing them in physical danger and materially affecting all of the Defendants’ constitutional right to fair and impartial jury.”

Trump supporters posted to a fringe website the purported names and addresses of the grand jurors involved in the indictment that as filed last month. The indictment, in accordance with state law, listed the names of the grand jury members but not their addresses or other personal information.

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