News & Politics

Manafort Judge Rejects Media's Creepy Motion to Unseal Jurors' Names and Addresses

Television cameras are set up outside of federal court as jury deliberations are set to begin in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, in Alexandria, Va., Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The judge in Paul Manafort’s fraud trial rejected the media’s motion Friday to unseal the names and addresses of the jurors, arguing that the move would make them targets.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said he believed the jurors would be threatened if their names were exposed, just like he himself has been threatened since the trial began.

“I can tell you there have been [threats]. … I don’t feel right if I release their names,” he said, adding that because of threats against him, “The Marshals go where I go.”

Ellis didn’t go into details about the threats he’s received over the case, but stressed: “I have the marshals’ protection.”  Exposing the names and addresses of the jury, Ellis argued, “would create a risk of harm to them.”

He also said: “I had no idea this case would excite these emotions, I will tell you frankly.”

The request for the juror information came from CNN, the Associated Press, Politico, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News, as the jury deliberated for its second day.

For the same reason the judge articulated, the idea was not popular with conservatives on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/TPCarney/status/1030479129127395329

https://twitter.com/seanmdav/status/1030478734195916802

https://twitter.com/gary7101/status/1030459422730899456

Ellis, a famously prickly judge known for his colorful comments, has attracted considerable attention during the Manafort trial for his frequent sparring with the attorneys — particularly those on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

According to Fox News, Ellis earlier on Friday said that he’s faced pushback because of how he’s handled this case, telling attorneys “I’m no stranger to criticism” but that “this case has brought it to a new level.”