Will Jurors in Trump ‘hush money’ Trial Be Identified After Verdict? Lawyers Weigh in

Throughout the course of former President Donald Trump’s Manhattan “hush money” trial, the 12 members of the jury have remained anonymous.

Some details about their lives have been divulged, including their occupations, neighborhoods and media consumption habits. But their names have been withheld.

However, now that the trial — the first-ever criminal trial of a former president — is reaching its final stretch, could that change? When a verdict is reached and the jurors shuffle out of the courtroom for the last time, will their identities be revealed?

According to legal experts, it depends.

“Generally speaking, the identities of the jurors are not made public to protect their anonymity,” Jeff Greco, a criminal defense attorney in New York City, told McClatchy News.

In widely watched cases such as this, it is common for the judge to establish measures to maintain juror privacy even after the trial ends, Samantha Chorny, a criminal defense attorney in New York City, told McClatchy News.

“The extension of such protective measures post-trial is contingent upon the assessment of potential risks to jurors,” according to Chorny, a former prosecutor with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

“Should the court deem it necessary, orders restricting the release of juror identities can be maintained to prevent harassment or threats, which are considerable in cases attracting significant public and media attention,” Chorny said.

This means that presiding Judge Juan Merchan’s order to the media not to publish identifying information about the jurors could remain in effect after the trial.

The directive was issued after a female juror was dismissed because she became concerned that details about her life were made public, according to the Associated Press.

However, members of the jury will likely be able to disclose their identities if they would like to, legal experts said.

“My guess is that jurors who want to come forward are permitted to do so,” Sharon Fairley, a professor of practice at the University of Chicago Law School, told McClatchy News.

Nothing bars the jurors from speaking to the media after the end of the trial, Greco said.

“It remains a personal choice,” Chorny said. “Jurors are free to engage with the media if they choose, but they must consider the possible personal implications of their exposure, especially in a polarized atmosphere where they might face significant public scrutiny or backlash from political supporters.”

In the past, some jurors in other high-profile cases have elected to reveal their identities, including Michael Knox, a juror in O.J. Simpson’s 1994 murder trial, who published a book about his experience.

Hazel Thornton, a juror in the widely watched 1993 murder trial of the Menendez brothers, also published a book about her time on the jury bench.

In Trump’s previous defamation trial in New York, Judge Lewis Kaplan told jurors, “my advice to you is that you never disclose that you were on this jury,” according to Politico.

Kaplan and other judges involved in Trump-related cases have faced a wave of threats in recent years, according to Reuters.

“Since Trump launched his first presidential campaign in June 2015, the average number of threats and hostile communications directed at judges, federal prosecutors, judicial staff and court buildings has more than tripled,” according to Reuters.

Read more at: Will jurors in Trump ‘hush money’ trial be identified after verdict? Lawyers weigh in

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About The Author

Jeffery Greco

Jeffery Greco is an attorney providing legal services covering Criminal Defense and Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: DUI / DWI. Jeffery Greco, who practices law in New York, New York, was selected to Super Lawyers for 2020 - 2023. This peer designation is awarded only to a select number of accomplished attorneys in each state. The Super Lawyers selection process takes into account peer recognition, professional achievement in legal practice, and other cogent factors. Prior to becoming an attorney, he studied at South Texas College of Law Houston. He graduated in 2004. After passing the bar exam, he was admitted to legal practice in 2005.

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