Brooklyn federal prosecutors want to bench potential jurors after kicking around the idea that some unfair play is going on ahead of their blockbuster FIFA corruption trial.
The feds are seeking an anonymous and semi-sequestered jury after a series of “documented attempts to obstruct justice and intimidate witnesses,” according to court documents filed Thursday.
Three men are slated for a trial set to start Nov. 6. More than 20 others have already pleaded guilty in the case charging decades of kickbacks and bribes connected to media and marketing rights for widely-watched matches and tournaments governed by FIFA, which oversees international soccer.
Prosecutors argue that the intense media hype surrounding the trial, plus the “significant penal, economic, and reputational interests at stake, have resulted in attempts to obstruct justice and prevent information from reaching the government and the public.”
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No charges have been filed in relation to the tampering allegations.
The government also argues that the media scrum sure to surround the case is reason for an anonymous jury.
Prosecutors typically make a play for juror’s identities to be shielded from the press and public in organized crime and terrorism cases.
In addition to keeping juror names under wraps, they are asking for U.S. Marshals to bring jurors to and from the courthouse.
Judge Pamela Chen told the defendants they have to respond the prosecution’s request by next week.
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