Prosecutors on Tuesday urged the judge overseeing Donald Trump's election interference case in Washington to take steps to protect the identity of prospective jurors, citing the former president's “continued use of social media as a weapon of intimidation in court proceedings.”
Special counsel Jack Smith's team said in court papers they are concerned about what Trump “may do with social media research on potential jurors” in the case accusing the former Republican president of illegally plotting to overturn his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. They pointed to Trump's recent disparagement of the clerk of the New York judge overseeing a civil case against him that caused the judge to issue a limited gag order.
Smith's team wants the judge to issue a written questionnaire to weed out potential jurors before jury selection begins in the case scheduled for trial in March. They are asking the judge to prohibit both sides from using information gained through juror research for any purpose other than jury selection, and to require both to make sure that anyone who has access to jury materials understands they cannot publicly disclose the information.
"Such a precaution is not only necessary to ensure that all parties handle sensitive juror information responsibly, but also so that the Court can assure prospective and seated jurors in this case that no party will improperly use their names or other identifying information," prosecutors wrote.
John Lauro, an attorney for Trump, did not immediately return a message seeking comment but the government’s motion indicates that defense attorneys oppose it.
Associated Press reporter Eric Tucker in Washington contributed.