Groups warn attacks on prospective jurors in Trump trial could escalate

The Fulton County Courthouse on July 19, 2023, in Atlanta. (Miguel Martinez/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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The Fulton County Courthouse on July 19, 2023, in Atlanta. (Miguel Martinez/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: TNS

A coalition of civil rights groups and other advocacy organizations demanded more safeguards Monday for prospective jurors in the Fulton County election interference case against Donald Trump amid security concerns about the trial.

“Jurors — past, present and future — are under attack from Donald Trump and those who do his bidding,” the groups wrote in an open letter, adding that they threaten constitutional principles designed “to hold to account any leader who would be king.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has sought increased protections after Trump supporters posted personal details about the grand jury that indicted the former president, leading to angry threats and harassment.

And Willis, herself, said she’s been targeted by threats and racial slurs, forcing her to take steps to protect her daughters, father and ex-husband.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee recently banned reporters and the public from identifying jurors in the trial against Trump and 18 co-defendants or disclosing other personal details about them. He also required lawyers to refer to them only as their numbers in court.

While the order establishes some additional safeguards, standing court rules already prohibit the media from recording and photographing jurors in a criminal trial.

The coalition of civil rights organizations urged authorities to take further steps, noting that Trump has berated prosecutors pursuing criminal charges against him, warning in August that “if you go after me, I’m coming after you!”

“His attacks are designed to eviscerate an institution of justice inherited from English law and in existence in America before the Constitution that enshrined it,” the letter states. “Juries protect individual freedom.”

The liberal coalition was put together by Not Above the Law, and the letter was signed by Public Citizen, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Sierra Club, Stand Up America and dozens of other groups.

It ended with a warning that the security risks are poised to grow as trials in Atlanta and Washington near.

“Trump, by undermining institutions that check both government power and lawless individuals, aims to release himself from all constraints,” the groups wrote. “For this reason, his vicious attacks on juries are sure to escalate.”

You can read the full letter here.

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