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Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have filed a motion to have his ‘election interference’ trial televised, though the Justice Department has already voiced opposition to that.
As The Epoch Times reported, Trump’s attorneys have argued that the unprecedented nature of the case — a former president on trial for federal charges — makes it necessary for the public to be able to watch the proceedings, especially as Trump remains, by far, the leading 2024 GOP presidential contender.
“For the first time in American history, an incumbent administration has charged its main, leading electoral opponent with a criminal offense,” the lawyers wrote in a Saturday filing to U.S. District Judge Tonya Chutkan, who is presiding over the case.
“President Trump calls for sunlight. Every person in America, and beyond, should have the opportunity to study this case firsthand and watch as, if there is a trial, President Trump exonerates himself of these baseless and politically motivated charges,” they added.
The outlet added:
President Trump is slated to go on trial in March 2024 on charges that he illegally interfered with the 2020 presidential election and the resulting transfer of power.
Media outlets recently asked Judge Chutkan, appointed under President Barack Obama, to allow cameras in the courtroom, arguing that the public has the right to access criminal trial proceedings based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Richmond Newspapers Inc. v. Virginia.
In that case, the ruling said, “The right to attend criminal trials is implicit in the guarantees of the First Amendment.”
Media outlets have also argued that televising the trial would “be a critical step in stemming false conspiracy theories” about the case.
But special counsel Jack Smith has come out in opposition of televising the proceedings, arguing that a ban on broadcasting the trial “does not burden speech or implicate the First Amendment in any way” because reporters and other members of the public can still attend the trial.
“The fact that the trial is open to the public and the media, which can “attend, listen and report” to the larger public, fully satisfies the constitutional right of access,” he said, referencing a previous court ruling.
Trump’s team, however, argued that conducting the trial behind closed doors risked further undermining Americans’ trust in the justice system, especially in light of the unprecedented prosecution of a former president.
“President Trump absolutely agrees, and in fact demands, that these proceedings should be fully televised so that the American public can see firsthand that this case, just like others, is nothing more than a dreamt-up unconstitutional charade that should never be allowed to happen again,” his legal team argued in their filing to Chutkan.
“Furthermore, President Trump is entitled to present his positions in this case to the American public, including his sacred obligation as president to investigate and address fraud and other irregularities in the 2020 presidential election. Therefore, the court should grant the motions and allow the movants to broadcast the proceedings of this matter,” they noted further.
Newsweek, meanwhile, reported last week that Chutkan will not jail Trump in the event that he disobeys the court’s strict gag order in the case pertaining to the Capitol intrusion on January 6, 2021, despite pressure from the Department of Justice.
A footnote to Chutkan’s ruling reinstating the gag order contained some positive news. In the footnote, Chutkan turned down a request from the prosecution to condition the former president’s release on his compliance with the gag order’s restrictions.
“The government also asks the court to incorporate the Order into Defendant’s conditions of release …,” she wrote in the first footnote of the ruling. “Even assuming that request is procedurally proper, the court concludes that granting it is not necessary to effectively enforce the Order at this time.”