Trump lawyers push back against anonymous jurors order

Trump lawyers push back against anonymous jurors order
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base Friday July 5, 2019, in Maryland, and depart on Air Force One en route New Jersey. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Attorneys representing Donald Trump in E. Jean Carroll‘s defamation case against him are attempting to convince the judge to rescind or alter his order that requires all jurors, even potential jurors, to remain anonymous – even to the attorneys – out of fear Trump or his allies might target them.

They are also arguing that additional vetting of potential jurors is required, and in a move some find unprecedented, are pointing to the comments section of online news articles to prove bias against the ex-president. They also request a “written juror questionnaire.”

“Team Trump is also asking Judge Kaplan to use a juror questionnaire and reconsider his ruling that not even the attorneys can know the names of potential jurors,” reports MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin.

Law & Crime managing editor Adam Klasfeld posted a portion of the Trump attorneys’ motion, and links to the full document, which is here.

“This Case Has Attracted Widespread and Prejudicial Media Coverage That Has Spiked Since President Trump’s Criminal Indictment,” Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina states in his letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan.

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“Since this case was filed on November 24, 2022, at least 7,270 articles have repeated or referenced Ms. Carroll’s allegations against President Trump. In fact, the public backlash and rush to judgment were immediate and severe when Ms. Carroll’s claims surfaced in 2019. For example, there were over 900 comments in the comments section of Ms. Carroll’s article and initial accusation on June 21, 2019 in New York Magazine,” it states, highlighting several comments he says are from that article. They include these (bolding and typos/errors original to Tacopina’s motion):

“Trump is a monster. Because he rapes. Because he lies. . . He raped Ms. Carroll as sure as he is compulsed to, given his need to destroy the value of others, and given an opportunity for which he’s learned he can destroy any consequence.”

“Trump and his children are monsters. I’m so sorry you had to go through that and I thank you for speaking out.”

Her story is entirely credible. It is Trump doing exactly what he SAID he likes to do…” [“]grab them by the *****.”

“I am so heartsick at reading … your dreadful account of Trump’s assault. .. But now I’m worried about what forces this man-beast (who could have been the Anti-Christ), if he were not so stupid) might bring to bear on you, Ms. Carroll, for having told the truth.”

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“To say that I believe you is superfluous, like saying I believe the sky is blue. Of course you are telling the truth. Anyone who would assume otherwise is so far gone down a path of willful ignorance that not even an essay this powerful could reach them.”

“Trump is going to attack her physical appearance as ‘proof that he didn’t rape her, exactly as he has done with so many of the other women that he has raped.”

Tacopina offers additional examples from a New York Times article.

Klasfeld notes, “I can’t recall the comments section of online news stories factoring into voir dire consideration in the past, and I’ve never heard it suggested that online commentators traditionally and strictly adhere to the presumption of innocence.”

CNN last month reported Judge Kaplan “says jurors’ personal information will be kept confidential and other security measures will be taken to protect them, citing the former president’s history of attacking the legal system.”

“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.’ That reaction reportedly has been perceived by some as incitement to violence,” Kaplan wrote. “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.”

Carroll is suing Trump for defamation after she accused him of raping her in a Manhattan high-end luxury goods store. He denied the allegation, and made other remarks which sparked the defamation lawsuit.

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