Reddit is often referred to as “the front page of the Internet”, where users post all kinds of links and stories about what’s happening around the world. But this week, Reddit on one’s own The platform hit the headlines after a fake post turned out to be part of a high-profile trial that was livestreamed to millions of viewers.
Darrell Brooks, accused of intentionally driving his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and killing 6 people in November 2021, has been found guilty of six counts of first-degree-intentional murder and dozens of other charges, including several counts of negligence. risk.
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Weird The weeks-long trial involved defendant Brooks firing his attorney, acting as his own attorney, and cross-examining witnesses injured in the attack. At one point during the trial, Brooks claimed that he was a “sovereign citizen”, arguing that he believed that the laws of the US did not apply to him. He also regularly argued with Judge Jennifer Dorough over routine court procedures.
However, none of Brooks’ antics could match the strange social media incidents that attempted to derail the trial just a day before the jury’s verdict.
On Tuesday, someone claiming to be a juror in the Darrell Brooks trial deployment of For Reddit, it’s basically putting out an open invitation to any user on the social media platform to add their input about the test. The post attracted immediate attention, not only because jurors are prohibited from using social media during the trial, but also because the anonymous user posted it on a subreddit called r/Justice4Darrell with less than a thousand followers. . Prior to the juror’s position, this small subreddit consisted mostly of trolls voicing support for Brooks.
credit: Mashable Screenshot / Reddit Archive
“I clearly shouldn’t be here,” read the post. “I’m not allowed to see stuff about this test (or really have any connection with the internet, but nobody really follows sequence rules). So I’m apparently posting anonymously.” “
The user explained that although he believes Brooks committed a crime, he does not believe he was given a fair trial. The Redditor then brought up the idea of jury nullification, which is when juries return a “not guilty” verdict in cases where they want to send a message about the law.
A moderator of the subreddit claimed that the user privately provided evidence that they were, in fact, jurors in the trial. The post’s comments quickly filled up thereafter with some users questioning its validity, while others were outraged that a supposed juror would jeopardize the trial by posting on social media.
Nevertheless, the Reddit post actually made it to trial after several people forwarded it to the authorities. Judge Doro addressed The existence of the post also questioned its validity. The judge clarified that it was given to law enforcement to look into, but that it would not change the proceedings of the trial.
Not long after, a Redditor claiming to be a juror came clean. It was really fake.
“It was all a joke, I didn’t think it would blow up like this. We’re sorry. Love, drama,” read the edited post.
The Darrell Brooks trial has attracted significant attention online. Right from the start, right-wing pundits and celebrities showed special interest in the case, by trying For linking Darrell Brooks to the Black Lives Matter movement. Live courtroom video network Law & Crime’s coverage of the trial proceedings has garnered millions of views on YouTube to date. Tuesday’s judgment hour The livestream alone has already garnered over 2.5 million views. darrell brooks on tiktok subject page shows that videos about the defendant have been viewed more than 600 million times with some users understood How his interest in the matter came from the recommendations of TikTok’s For You page.
It seems pretty clear that a legal event with so many eyeballs will inevitably attract some bad actors.
Despite the unprovenness of the AMA, Brooks unsuccessfully tried to argue that the result of the Reddit post must be false. Brooks pointed to the jury’s knowledge of the case in an attempt to validate the post, before reminding them that the trial was being broadcast online around the world. as prosecutors ExplainedThe editing to the post took place while the jury was deliberating and they did not have access to their phones or any internet-connected devices. Thus, the Redditor behind the post could not have been a juror.
As of Wednesday, the subreddit r/Justice4Darrell has been banned from the Reddit platform.
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While the fake juror’s Reddit post never actually threatened a mistrial, it was taken seriously enough to become part of official court proceedings. And though it only resulted in temporarily hijacking the test, it will surely prove to be an attractive template for other trolls to attempt.
In the future, it will probably be very difficult to dismiss a similar fake post and actually derail a test. One thing’s for sure, it definitely won’t be the last time.