Jurors in Derek Chauvin Case Being Kept Sealed After Courts, Lawyers Receive 'Unprecedented' Emails

Posted: Apr 23, 2021 8:30 PM
Jurors in Derek Chauvin Case Being Kept Sealed After Courts, Lawyers Receive 'Unprecedented' Emails

Source: Court TV, via AP, Pool

On Friday afternoon, days after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all three counts in the death of George Floyd, Judge Peter Cahill ordered the names of the jurors to be sealed for no sooner than 180 days, the Hill reported

Such concerns are not unfounded when court documents warn that lawyers have received "unprecedented levels of emails regarding the case" which were "frequently of incendiary, inflammatory, and threatening [in] nature."  The Court received "unprecedented levels" of emails, and phone calls, as well.

Because of this, the Court found that "continuing restrictions on public disclosure of the jurors' identities remain necessary to protect those jurors desiring to remain anonymous from unwanted publicity or harassment." 

The court document signed by Judge Cahill on Friday noted the media attention the case got. "The levels of media and public interest in this case have, if anything, increased since the Juror Anonymity Order was filed," it read," with "Media coverage of this trial [having been] ubiquitous and omnipresent."

This order comes after an alternate juror, Lisa Christensen, shared her thoughts on the trial, including her fears, as Katie reported earlier today. Jurors are free to reveal their identity as this alternate did, if they so choose. Christensen, when asked if she wanted to be a juror shared:

I had mixed feelings. There was a question on the questionnaire about it and I put I did not know. The reason, at that time, was I did not know what the outcome was going to be, so I felt like either way you are going to disappoint one group or the other. I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict.

The order did not mention the specific comments coming from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) who was inciting and rallying fellow protesters to break curfew, if the verdict was not to their liking. The sitting member of Congress had traveled across states, with a police escort, the weekend before the verdict was handed down. Some time later, National Guard members were shot at

Judge Cahill did address her remarks in the courtroom on Monday when he denied the defense's request for a mistrial. President Joe Biden also weighed in on a verdict before the jury handed it down. "Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned," the judge shared. 

His response touched upon media coverage and opinions from members of Congress as well. "I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function," he shared, also noting that "I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution, to respect the co-equal branch of government."