Grand jurors for next year's trial of Trump's 4th indictment had their names, pictures, and even home addresses leaked online with authorities rushing to identify the source and origin of any credible threats against jurors.
According to the group Advance Democracy, a user of a fringe social media site posted purported names, rough ages and addresses of jurors on Wednesday. (USA Today) The verified user on X, formerly known as Twitter, had posted photos of three jurors the day prior.
“These jurors have signed their death warrant by falsely indicting President Trump,” said one message on the fringe site. The Fulton County Sheriff's Office issued a statement saying it was working with local and federal authorities to identify the origin of threats against jurors.
"We take this matter very seriously and are coordinating with our law enforcement partners to respond quickly to any credible threat and ensure the safety of those individuals who carried out their civic duty," the statement said.
“It's becoming all too commonplace to see everyday citizens performing necessary functions for our democracy being targeted with violent threats by Trump-supporting extremists," said Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy, a nonprofit organization that conducts public-interest investigations.
"The lack of political leadership on the right to denounce these threats − which serve to inspire real-world political violence − is shameful.”
On Monday, former President Donald Trump was indicted for racketeering and a handful of other charges for attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. With federal cases having jurors remain anonymous by law, Georgia in contrasts includes the names of the grand jurors and no other information given in its indictments.
According to USA Today, “The disclosure of the names allows internet users to partake in a practice known as doxing. This form of online harassment consists of aggregating information taken from public databases, social media profiles and disclosing previously private information.”
“That was one of the things that really concerned me, the prospect of the Georgia indictment coming down,” said Amy Lee Copeland, former federal prosecutor in Georgia and now a criminal defense lawyer in Savannah, Georgia. “I understand there are online threats against these people. I feel really terrible for these people who are doing their civic duty.”
Copeland mentioned that attorneys are not permitted to leave grand jury identifying information with clients in jail and the names of the jurors are also not to be included.
“Justice is swift if you release grand jury information,” Copeland said of federal cases.
The spreading of the jurors' identifying information was messaged across the Internet including X, Facebook, Truth Social, and TikTok, and the addresses were posted on a fringe site called 4chan. The addresses were posted in a thread of comments that discussed the race of each juror, and threats made to the jurors were posted through another thread of comments on another site called 4plebs.
According to USA Today, “Authorities set up barricades around the courthouse for potential protests associated with the indictment, but the day passed quietly.”