Purported names, photos and addresses of Fulton County grand jurors circulate on far-right internet

Purported names, photos and addresses of Fulton County grand jurors circulate on far-right internet
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Media vehicles stage outside the Fulton County Courthouse, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, in Atlanta.

Report: Photos of Fulton County grand jurors circulating on far-right websites


01:49

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CNN

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Media vehicles stage outside the Fulton County Courthouse, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, in Atlanta.

Report: Photos of Fulton County grand jurors circulating on far-right websites


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CNN
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Names, photographs, social media profiles and even the home addresses purportedly belonging to members of the Fulton County grand jury that this week voted to indict former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants are circulating on social media – with experts saying that some anonymous users are calling for violence against them.

CNN cannot independently verify if the photographs, social media accounts and the homes addresses being posted actually belong to the grand jurors.

However, the names being circulated on these sites appear to match the names of at least 13 of the 26 grand jurors that served on the panel in Fulton County. It’s unclear if those names are the actual grand jurors or just people with the same name. Some addresses appear to be wrong.

Unlike the federal system, when someone is indicted in Fulton County, the indictment includes the names of all the grand jurors who served on the 26-member panel that handed up the charges. However, the indictment, which is a public record that’s available on the court website, does not include their addresses or any other personally identifiable information.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday afternoon that it was “aware that personal information of members of the Fulton County Grand Jury is being shared on various platforms” and that investigators are trying to “track down the origin of threats” against the grand jurors.

“We take this matter very seriously and are coordinating with our law enforcement partners to respond quickly to any credible threat and to ensure the safety of those individuals who carried out their civic duty,” the statement said.

Also, on some forums, users are posting multiple social media profiles of different people who have the same name as some of the grand jurors.

This creates an additional layer of risk, Daniel J. Jones, the president of Advance Democracy, a non-profit organization that conducts public-interest investigations and monitors extremism online, told CNN. The posting of social media profiles and home addresses of people who happen to share the name of a grand juror increases their risk of harassment and other forms of harm, he said.

CNN is not naming the websites where these details are being posted, but they range from a major social media profile, to pro-Trump forums, to sites that have previously been linked to violent extremist attacks.

In one instance, one pro-Trump personality shared screenshots with his more than 2 million followers showing what were purportedly the social media profiles of the grand jurors. That post has since been removed.

The same personality previously promoted Pizzagate, an infamous conspiracy theory that led to an armed man firing an assault rifle at a Washington, DC, pizza parlor in 2016, who claimed he was attempting to find and rescue child sex slaves that he believed were being held at the restaurant. That belief allegedly based on his reading of an online conspiracy theory that falsely connected Hillary Clinton’s campaign adviser to the pizzeria through coded messages in his leaked emails.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Some of the posts baselessly accused District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, of stacking the grand jury with left-wing activists. The politics and voting history of potential grand jurors were not discussed during the selection process last month, which occurred mostly in open court and was observed by CNN and other reporters at the courthouse.

Ben Decker, the CEO of Memetica, a threat intelligence company, told CNN Wednesday, “Many of the platforms where these discussions are taking place have a long history of being linked to violent extremism, including a slate of mass shootings and politically-motivated acts of violence like the Capitol insurrection.”

So far, none of the grand jurors in Fulton County have publicly spoken about the high-profile case.

The panel of Atlanta-area residents was sworn in earlier this summer and voted on routine indictments in gun and drug cases – before Willis brought them the Trump case on Monday. They spent roughly 10 hours behind closed doors, hearing testimony presented by prosecutors and from key witnesses, including Georgia’s former lieutenant governor and two former state lawmakers, before approving the historic indictment.

The Atlanta Police Department is supporting the Fulton County sheriff’s office regarding potential safety issues to the grand jurors.

APD spokeswoman Chata Spikes told CNN that the sheriff’s office is the lead agency, but the police department is able and willing to help if needed.

A law enforcement source with knowledge of the security situation told CNN that the jurors are being “doxxed” and their safety is a main concern right now.

“We are in a situation where people are being threatened to be killed for doing their civic duty. It is an unfortunate reality that, as part of Georgia law, their names are made public, but that’s what we’re dealing with,” the source told CNN.

The source said it will be up to the sheriff’s office to initiate “directed patrols” to protect the jurors and alert the individual police departments about specific threats.

The source said there may be a statement later Thursday from the sheriff’s office related to juror safety.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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