Jury deliberations have begun in the case against Paul Manafort; the first of presumably several trials to emerge from the #RussiaGate investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller, who was appointed after a wild conspiracy theory regarding Russia’s supposed influence within the Trump campaign went mainstream, has charged Paul Manafort with a series of crimes unrelated to President Trump’s alleged “collusion” with the Russian government in his harrowing defeat of Hillary Clinton back in 2016. The jury in the case is heading home for the weekend as their tedious task has begun, but not all is well within the group.
In fact, some are terrified of what could be waiting at home for them in this controversial case, particularly due to a lawsuit by CNN to gain access to their personal information.
As Bre Payton at the Federalist points out, “Publicly outing the names and home addresses of jurors is considered ethically questionable, as outlined in this guidance sheet on the topic from the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press.”
To begin with, it is seen as unseemly to thrust jurors into the spotlight against their will when they are not volunteering for publicity; they are chosen.
Now, these worried jurors are speaking out.
“I had no idea this case would incite this emotion,” U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III said in an open court hearing, responding to a motion from seven news organizations, including POLITICO, seeking access to sealed materials related to the trial that would have publicly identified the jurors.
Ellis denied the motion, telling the courtroom that jurors were “scared” and “afraid.” As a result, Ellis said, he didn’t “feel right” releasing the names of the 12-person jury.
While it is fortunate that common sense has prevailed, it is highly worrisome that these outlets would have attempted such a stunt in the first place.