Judge orders anonymous jury in Trump sexual battery trial
A federal judge has ordered an anonymous jury in former President Trump’s sexual battery civil trial next month, citing in part Trump’s call for protests as an indictment looms in a separate probe.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Thursday that the jurors need protection from harassment, referencing the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack and Trump’s various statements attacking jurors and officials involved in other cases.
Author E. Jean Carroll is set to take Trump to trial late next month after she accused him during his presidency of raping her in the mid-1990s. Trump has repeatedly denied Carroll’s claims.
“Mr. Trump’s quite recent reaction to what he perceived as an imminent threat of indictment by a grand jury sitting virtually next door to this Court was to encourage ‘protest’ and to urge people to ‘take our country back,’” Kaplan wrote.
“That reaction reportedly has been perceived by some as incitement to violence. And it bears mention that Mr. Trump repeatedly has attacked courts, judges, various law enforcement officials and other public officials, and even individual jurors in other matters,” the ruling continued.
Trump’s and Carroll’s lawyers had not raised the issue of an anonymous jury, which is typically reserved for terrorism and organized crime cases, but the Clinton-nominated judge on his own accord asked the parties if they had any objections to using one.
Neither party did so, although the New York Daily News and The Associated Press lodged an objection.
“If jurors’ identities were disclosed, there would be a strong likelihood of unwanted media attention to the jurors, influence attempts, and/or of harassment or worse of jurors by supporters of Mr. Trump,” Kaplan ruled.
Kaplan went on to reference Trump’s recent attacks on the foreperson of a Georgia grand jury investigating the former president. The foreperson sat down for interviews with multiple media outlets after the grand jury’s report was partially released and suggested a number of indictments would come out of the investigation.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump called for the removal of every top official investigating him.
The list included the district attorney running the Georgia investigation, which is investigating Trump’s actions following the 2020 election, and the Manhattan district attorney, who appears to be near seeking an indictment of the former president for his involvement in a hush payment to an adult film star.
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