The judge in the criminal trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will hold a hearing Friday on whether to unseal the names and addresses of the jurors.
Judge T.S. Ellis III sealed the names when the trial began, but media outlets have filed a motion seeking to disclose the information. Neither prosecutors nor Mr. Manafort’s legal team objected to withholding the names.
Several media outlets, including CNN, have pushed for the information to be released.
Judge Ellis said he understood why the press wanted jurors’ personal information.
“A thirsty press is essential to a free county,” he said.
He also encouraged the press to appeal his decision to a federal appeals court if he decides not to lift the seal.
“I’m not going to resent that,” he said of the possibility media outlets will try to overturn his decision in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
“I’m no stranger to criticism. … This case has brought it to a new level,” he said.
Mr. Manafort is charged with 18 counts of financial fraud in the first case to emerge from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe, though the alleged crimes happened before Mr. Manafort joined the Trump campaign, prosecutors said.