Former President Donald Trump’s persistent threats—and those of his most vicious followers—have prompted a New York federal judge to take the remarkable step of keeping the American public from ever finding out the names of the jurors who will decide whether the real estate tycoon raped the journalist E. Jean Carroll decades ago.
“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,” U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote on Thursday.
The judge noted how several MAGA-loyal insurrectionists who violently attacked Congress on Jan. 6, 2021—and later got caught—have themselves argued in court that they were there at Trump’s behest. He also elaborated on Trump’s long history of stoking tensions by targeting the justice system.
“Indeed, Mr. Trump himself has made critical statements on social media regarding the grand jury foreperson in Atlanta, Georgia, and the jury foreperson in the Roger Stone criminal case,” he added. “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.”
In his decision, the judge laid out how the anonymity will apply to prospective jurors as they’re being questioned—and whoever is picked will get special protection.
“The names, addresses, and places of employment of prospective jurors… shall not be revealed,” he wrote.
That means the American public will be barred from knowing who is on the panel that is scheduled to make a historic decision: whether or not Trump raped Carroll inside a high-end New York City department store in the mid-1990s. The time has long since passed for criminal charges to be filed, but Carroll has used a new rape survivor law in New York state to bring a civil lawsuit against the former president. The trial is scheduled to take place next month.
But the added protection for jurors comes with severely strict measures. The judge said jurors must all stay together during any daytime pause in the trial, and they will be escorted at all times by the U.S. Marshals Service. Jurors won’t even be allowed to go out for lunch on their own. They’ll be accompanied by marshals—or have the agents deliver them lunch.
On top of all that, jurors will be quietly shepherded out of the Manhattan federal courthouse every day during the trial.
“Jurors shall be transported together or in groups from one or more undisclosed location or locations at which the jurors can assemble or from which they may return to their respective residences,” the judge ordered.
Neither lawyers for Carroll nor Trump objected to the measures.