On Tuesday, Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, submitted a motion to the court asking it to safeguard the confidentiality of potential jurors. Smith defended his action by referring to previous remarks made by the former president about judicial branch members.
The prosecution pointed out that there is cause for anxiety about what he may do with social media research on possible jurors in this case, given that the defendant — after presumably reviewing opposition research on court personnel — elected to post on social media and attack court staff.
In court records, the worries of the prosecutors regarding the possible activities of Donald Trump in gathering research on potential jurors were revealed in further depth. In particular, they alluded to his recent criticism of the clerk of the New York judge presiding over the civil business fraud complaint brought against Trump, which resulted in the judge issuing a limited gag order to prevent further public comment on the matter.
On that particular occasion, President Trump presented a principal law clerk for Judge Arthur Engoron and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to his nearly 6 million social media followers present at a public event. Senator Schumer is the Democratic leader of the Senate Majority.
After Trump attacked the clerk’s relationship with the judge, Judge Engoron ordered Trump to remove the post and outlawed further disparagement of court officials by any party. He also prohibited other disparagement of court officials.
While preparing to choose jurors for this historic case, the members of Smith’s group have proposed using juror surveys and the authorization of attorneys to conduct limited research on potential jurors.
According to Smith’s team, research that goes beyond what is publicly available, mainly if it results in any sort of interaction with a possible juror, would violate potential jurors’ privacy interests and their right to a fair trial.
They went on to say that there should be no investigations of the parties, either online or offline, that could be interpreted as being vexatious or harassing in any way.
On Tuesday, the attorney representing Trump, John Lauro, remained mute while he and other defense counsel fought against the motion made by the government.
After Judge Tanya Chutkan requested an opposing brief, the court gave the defense until the 20th of October to draft one.