Judge gives Trump anonymous jury in defamation trial, citing potential harassment

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Former President Donald Trump and author E. Jean Carroll. (Lynne Sladky, Larry Neumeister / AP)

Judge gives Trump anonymous jury in defamation trial, citing potential harassment

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A U.S. district judge in Manhattan ordered an anonymous jury for rape accuser E. Jean Carroll’s defamation trial against former President Donald Trump, citing the risk of jury harassment and Trump’s reaction to the possibility of being indicted in a separate case.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said details such as the names, places of employment, and addresses of jurors in the trial slated for April 25 would be shielded from public record, adding that the members would be transported in a group to and from the courthouse.

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“In these circumstances, this Court is obliged to consider the likely effect on jurors … it cannot properly ignore the significant risk that jurors selected to serve in this case will be affected by concern that they could be targeted for unwanted media attention, outside pressure, and retaliation and harassment from persons unhappy with any verdict that might be returned,” he wrote in a nine-page memorandum.

Last week, Trump posted to social media and told his supporters to “protest” and “take our country back” if he were indicted in a separate case over hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. Kaplan noted these comments were part of what prompted his decision to keep the jury anonymous.

“And where there is a genuine need for an anonymous jury and reasonable precautions are taken, its use does not violate either the common law or the Constitution, even in a criminal case,” the judge said.

The Washington Examiner contacted attorneys for Carroll and Trump.

Carroll, a former columnist for Elle magazine, has alleged Trump raped her in the late 1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in New York. Her lawsuit includes a battery claim under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which lets sexual abuse survivors sue their alleged perpetrators despite the typical statute of limitations.

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Carroll sued Trump in November after he called her allegations a “hoax” and a “complete scam” on his Truth Social platform in October.

Trump is also being sued by her for alleged defamation over his June 2019 denial that the sexual assault occurred. That trial was slated to begin on April 10, but it was indefinitely postponed after parties in both cases moved to consolidate the pair of lawsuits.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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