(Feb. 22) Laws governing when and how jurors can speak can vary among jurisdictions, but grand jury forewoman Emily Kohrs in Georgia surely undermined the essential design of the legal system by blabbing about an investigation of former President Donald Trump.

Before prosecutors have even decided whether to bring charges related to election interference in that state, Kohrs spoke to multiple news outlets about the nature of her special grand jury’s recommendations, which have remained sealed under a judge’s order. She has hinted that grand jurors recommended more than a dozen indictments and indicated an indictment of Trump was among them, saying that “it’s not rocket science” to figure that out.

Kohrs’s appearance on CNN was particularly bizarre, as she spoke and acted like a middle schooler spreading gossip, complete with self-satisfied giggles. Surely, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis must have warned jurors not to speak in public until after all charges have been filed, tried, and resolved. If Willis didn’t, she was derelict in her responsibilities. Grand jurors who have heard evidence in secret, without the full benefit of cross-examination, can absolutely poison the well for a forthcoming trial.

Especially when a case carries overwhelming national significance, as one naturally does if it involves a former U.S. president now running for his old office, not just ordinary but extra precautions should have been taken to proceed both by the letter and the spirit of the criminal justice system.

The situation is now a travesty. The investigation may prove to have been ineluctably infected by Kohrs’s loose lips. It’s not clear if anything can be done to overcome the infection, but Trump himself must be smiling, knowing that he now has grounds to appeal any result unfavorable to his interests. Legally successful or not, his appeal will allow him to paint himself as the nation’s first victim again, thus raising sympathy, and probably money, from gullible admirers nationwide.

What a mess.


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