The trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing George Floyd, is entering its final moments. The jury will begin deliberating soon as the defense has finished its closing arguments. Whether they are able to return a verdict at all is a question we will eventually have an answer to.
In all of this, one thing is supposed to be clear. The jurors are supposed to be able to do their duty without pressure and threat. Yet, CBS News has already begun the process of doxxing them, and it’s hard to overstate how dangerous this is.
There is nothing more irrelevant in this trial in regards to public knowledge than the “makeup” of the 14 jurors. The process of vetting and weeding out jurors has already been completed with input from both the prosecution, defense, and the judge. At this point, where a juror lives is not information anyone needs to know. But CBS News knows exactly what they are doing here.
Further, this sure seems like a shot across the bow for the jurors to come up with the “right” verdict or face reprisal from the mob, aided and abetted by a news media ready to provide them with personal information. Why are news outlets even hinting at identifying these people when there’s no journalistic value in it whatsoever? I think we know why.
The best case here is that the jurors never see this and never feel intimidated, but the mob stands ready regardless. The worst case is that the jurors do catch wind of CBS News hinting that they have their personal information and their decision is influenced by it. Finding Chauvin guilty of manslaughter might even be the proper ruling, but now, with what CBS News has done and seems to be pushing for, any ruling will have doubt cast on it.
The judge should step in and deliver a reprimand immediately, including barring CBS News from reporting from or in the courthouse. I’m not sure he will, though.