The foreperson on a Fulton County grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump has ignited a firestorm after speaking with multiple news outlets about the case, creating potential complications for prosecutors and possibly compromising the integrity of the grand jury’s work.
Emily Kohrs, who spent eight months on the grand jury hearing witness testimony and weighing evidence, raised eyebrows after giving a series of interviews, including one with MSNBC, where her giddy demeanor has raised questions about her (and by extension, the jury’s) impartiality.
“I wanted to hear from the former president. But, honestly, I kind of wanted to subpoena the former president because I got to swear everybody in, and so I thought it’d be really cool to get 60 seconds with President Trump, of me looking at him and being like, ‘Do you solemnly swear,’ and me getting to swear him in, I just, I kinda just thought that would be an awesome moment,” she explained while smiling and laughing.
This is real.
It isn’t a parody.
This is the lead juror from the Trump GA grand jury. pic.twitter.com/PN2qiJLeuQ
— Daniel Bostic (@debostic) February 22, 2023
While discussing the list of individuals who may be indicted, Kohrs, 30, told CNN “the big name” (widely interpreted as Trump) could be on the list.
“Can you imagine doing this for eight months and not coming out with a whole list [of recommended indictments]?” Kohrs told CNN. “It’s not a short list. It’s not.”
She added, “There may be some names on that list that you wouldn’t expect. But the big name that everyone keeps asking me about – I don’t think you will be shocked.”
Grand jurors are subject to secrecy restrictions, so it’s unusual for a juror to speak to the press. When the special grand jury dissolved last week, a judge forbade the jurors from sharing certain details but did not prevent them from speaking with the media. But, Kohrs may have blurred — or violated — the secrecy rule with statements revealing who may be indicted, as well as other details.
Her statements to MSNBC and CNN may have crossed the line, as “they could be in the category of grand jury deliberations,” Politico reported. Her giddy demeanor during the experience could also be problematic, Politico noted.
So potentially damaging were Kohrs’s statements that CNN Host Anderson Cooper, along with the network’s legal analyst Elie Honig, criticized Kohrs just hours after her appearance.
“This is a horrible idea,” the Independent reported Honig as saying. “And I guarantee you that prosecutors are wincing, watching her go on this.”
Following the media appearances, Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and president of Los Angeles-based West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Newsweek that Kohrs did not violate state laws, but added her “media tour isn’t helpful, and feeds into Trump’s argument that the grand jury investigation is a political witch hunt by a Democratic district attorney and the left-leaning mainstream news media.”
Michael Bromwich, former Justice Department Inspector General, called Kohrs a “reckless idiot” for her media appearances, adding in a subsequent post that “if she did this in the federal system, she would be prosecuted.”
She was a reckless idiot for doing what she did. https://t.co/1yf7DAwGqJ
— Michael R. Bromwich (@mrbromwich) February 22, 2023
Trump’s legal team has also spoken out following the controversial statements made during Kohrs’ interviews.
“The end product is the reliability of anything that has taken place in there is completely tainted and called into question,” Trump lawyer Drew Findling said during an interview.
He added that he held “no chagrin for a 30-year-old foreperson” who was part of “a failed system” before calling Kohrs a “product of a circus that cloaked itself as a special purpose grand jury.”
Now that the grand jury has completed its work, the decision on whether to bring charges against Trump or a member of his team rests with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.