Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Fulton County DA seeks to keep potential juror identities secret in election interference case


Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks in the Fulton County Government Center during a news conference, Aug. 14, 2023, in Atlanta.

CNN  — 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wants to keep the identities of jurors who may be chosen to hear the Georgia 2020 election interference case secret, after grand jurors who issued the indictment against Donald Trump and his allies were doxed online, according to a new court filing.

Willis is asking the court to “issue an order restricting any Defendant, members of the press, or any other person from disseminating potential jurors’ and empanel jurors’ identities during voir dire and trial,” according to the Wednesday filing.

“Based on the doxing of Fulton County grand jurors and the Fulton County District Attorney, it is clearly foreseeable that trial jurors will likely be doxed should their names be made available to the public,” according to the filing. “If that were to happen, the effect on jurors’ ability to decide the issues before them impartially and without influence would undoubtedly be placed in jeopardy, both placing them in physical danger and materially affecting all of the Defendants’ constitutional right to a fair and impartial jury.”

CNN previously reported that names, photographs, social media profiles and even the home addresses purportedly belonging to members of grand jury who voted to indict Trump and his 18 co-defendants circulated on social media.

The names of the grand jurors were included on the indictment as a matter of practice for indictments in Fulton County. However, the indictment, which is a public record available on the court website, does not include their addresses or any other personally identifiable information.

RELATED: What is doxxing and what can you do if you are doxxed?

Doxing the grand jurors who voted on the indictment “resulted in law enforcement officials, including the Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, and other police departments in the jurisdiction, putting plans in place to protect the grand jurors and prevent harassment and violence against them,” the district attorney’s office said in the filing.

It notes that personal information for Willis and members of her family was also shared online.

In an affidavit included with the filing, an investigator in the district attorney’s office said he worked with the Department of Homeland Security to determine that the site that listed the personal information for Willis and her family members was hosted by Russia “and is known by DHS as to be uncooperative with law enforcement.”