Major media outlets accused of intimidating Manafort jury

by WorldTribune Staff, August 19, 2018

CNN and six other major media outlets are being accused of attempting to intimidate the jury in former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s trial after the outlets sought to obtain the jurors’ names and home addresses.

On Aug. 16, CNN, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, The New York Times, NBC and The Associated Press requested the release of the names and home addresses of all of the Manafort jurors. The jury was not sequestered.

Kevin Downing, with the defense team for Paul Manafort, speaks briefly to the media as he leaves federal court after jury deliberation finished for the day on Aug. 17. / AP

At a hearing on Aug. 17, Judge T.S. Ellis denied the request, noting that he himself has received threats over his handling of Manafort’s trial.

“I have the marshals’ protection,” Ellis said at the hearing, according to The Hill. “I don’t feel right if I release their names.”

The Manafort jury resumes deliberations on Aug. 20.

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection noted that the outlets’ actions “in a case such as this could be seen as an act of media intimidation – the jury is not sequestered so they certainly would hear about it. In an environment of online mobs and CNN having threatened to doxx a gif maker who mocked CNN, the jurors rightly would be concerned if the judge released their personal information to the media.”

Powerline’s John Hinderaker wrote: “Why do you suppose seven news organizations – all liberal, presumably – wanted to know who the jurors are and where they live? They are worried that the jury, having heard the evidence, may not render the ‘right’ verdict, i.e., the one that helps the Democratic Party. So they want to know who the jurors are so they can apply pressure on them through mob action, newspaper denunciations, online harassment and so on. This is how today’s Democratic Party operates. If the jury fails to render the Democrats’ preferred verdict, what do you suppose Maxine Waters will suggest Democrats should do to the jurors if they venture out in public?”

Bre Payton at the Federalist noted that, “Publicly outing the names and home addresses of jurors is considered ethically questionable.” Payton cited guidance outlined by the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Manafort’s fate now sits with the jury and “anti-Trump media outlets like CNN are becoming concerned Manafort could be acquitted, which would be a major blow to (special counsel Robert) Mueller’s credibility and his ability to remove Trump from office – an outcome the establishment media are desperate to orchestrate,” John Nolte wrote for Breitbart on Aug. 18.

That the media outlets did not wait for the verdict to be rendered is “also suspect,” Nolte wrote. “This is not a sequestered jury, and as we head into a weekend break from deliberations, jurors are almost certain to learn that these powerful anti-Trump outlets are hunting them down. How can that not be intimidating?”

Monica Showalter at the American Thinker noted that “Less than a week after making a stink about freedom of the press, President Trump and ‘enemies of the people’ CNN and apparently other news outlets have decided to get into the harassment business given that reporting news is just not good enough for them. So now they’ve gotten into the jury-tampering business. They’re more interested in who the jury is than the court trial itself. And that may well be because they suspect Manafort, whose real crime seems to be serving as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, will walk.”

In denying the media outlets’ request for the jurors’ names and addresses, Judge Ellis said that more of the jury pool would have asked to be excused if the jurors had known their names would be made public, according to the Hill. Possible jury intimidation also remains a relevant topic as Manafort is due to face another criminal trial in Washington, D.C., shortly after the conclusion of the current trial.

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