Jun 4, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump jury safety concerns: Steps taken to protect juror's anonymity

Former President Trump in a Manhattan courthouse on May 30.

Former President Trump in a Manhattan courthouse on May 30. Photo: Steven HirschPool/Getty Images

The identities of the 12 New York jurors who found former President Trump guilty on Thursday have so far remained unknown to the public because of court protections.

Why it matters: With the high-profile and politically charged trial over, the court protections have ended, too, potentially exposing the jurors to harassment or worse if they identify themselves publicly or are doxed online.

  • Throughout the trial and in the aftermath of the verdict, attempts to identify the jurors were made on online forums, accompanied by violent threats against them, according to CNN.
  • The court has not disclosed any steps to keep jury members anonymous now that the trial is over.

Context: Before the trial began, Judge Juan Merchan issued several orders meant to protect the identities of jurors and courtroom staff over concerns of jury tampering, harassment or physical injury.

  • Prospective jurors were dismissed during jury selection after expressing concerns about being publicly identified, and the media was instructed by the court to be careful about revealing information about jurors.
  • Their identities were only disclosed to prosecutors and Trump's lawyers.

What they're saying: Before Merchan dismissed jurors on Thursday, he thanked them for their work over the six-week trial and said they could decide if they wished to discuss the case and their role in it publicly.

  • "No one can make you do anything you don't want to do," the judge said, according to the Washington Post. "The choice is yours."

New York's court system did not respond to Axios' questions on whether the Trump jurors have or will be given additional identity protections now that the trial is over.

The big picture: In previous high-profile, divisive cases, such as the O.J. Simpson murder trial that ended with his acquittal, jurors identified themselves publicly to discuss details of the trial and deliberations months after the jury reached its verdict.

  • In other cases, like Bill Cosby's sexual assault mistrial, the identities of jurors were released to the public against the wishes of the defense and prosecutorial teams.
  • Grand jurors in Georgia's election case against Trump have required court protections after their personal information — including their names, ages, addresses and vehicle details — were released online.

Go deeper: Trump to be sentenced on July 11

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