A group of news organizations, including CNN, The New York Times and Politico, on Thursday asked Judge Tanya Chutkan to allow the criminal trial in former President Donald Trump’s election interference case in Washington, D.C., to be televised next year.
The media coalition argued that bringing cameras into the courtroom would promote confidence in the U.S. justice system.
“We have never, in the history of our Nation, had a federal criminal trial that warrants audiovisual access more than the federal prosecution of former President Trump for allegedly trying to subvert the will of the people,” the court filing shared by Deadline states.
Trump was indicted in the case overseen by special counsel Jack Smith for his efforts to undo Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The trial is slated to start on March 4, 2024.
The news organizations noted that John Lauro, a lawyer representing Trump, has previously spoken in support of televised proceedings.
The media coalition argued that recording and televising the trial would help curb misinformation around the proceeding, which would be in the interest of both the defendant as well as the American people.
“For his benefit, and that of the Court and the public, real-time audiovisual coverage will be a critical step in stemming false conspiracy theories across the entire spectrum of public opinion, regardless of the trial’s outcome,” they said.
The news organizations cited the example of the 2020 trial of Derek Chauvin, who was eventually convicted of manslaughter and murder for killing George Floyd in Minneapolis. The court allowed cameras in the interest of transparency, given that the social distancing rules observed at the time due to the COVID-19 pandemic limited the number of people allowed to be in the room. The court made the decision “despite a general prohibition for broadcasts from Minnesota courtrooms.”
The live coverage of the proceedings “earned widespread praise from media observers, 12 participants, the chief judge of that court, and the chief federal judge of that district,” lawyers for the media coalition wrote.
While the news organizations stated their preference for being allowed to record and televise the trial, they also suggested some other accommodations Chutkan could consider: Broadcasting the court’s own livestreams of the proceedings on YouTube or publishing the court’s recordings of the trial at the end of each day.
It’s unclear if Chutkan will accept any of the proposed options.
The New York judge presiding over Trump’s civil fraud trial that started this week barred cameras from recording opening statements and closing statements. He only briefly allowed them to film inside before the trial began.
Trump, however, aired his grievances with the trial before the cameras stationed outside the courtroom several times.
So far, the only trial that will be televised is the one stemming from Trump’s criminal indictment in Georgia over his schemes to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. The court will also stream the proceedings live on its YouTube channel.