OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
4:13 PM – Saturday, November 11, 2023
Donald Trump is supporting a move by news outlets to broadcast his federal trial where he faces charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
In a legal filing submitted on Friday to the judge who is set to begin the trial in March, Trump’s legal team claimed he is a target of political persecution by the Biden administration and argued for the use of television to highlight the alleged unfairness of the proceedings.
“The prosecution wishes to continue this travesty in darkness. President Trump calls for sunlight,” defense attorneys John Lauro and Todd Blanche wrote. “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.”
The five-page document submitted to Judge Tanya Chutkan in the United States District Court does not mention a long-standing federal court rule that forbids broadcasting criminal court proceedings.
Last week, prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s team cited this rule when opposing requests from various news outlets, including POLITICO, to broadcast video and audio coverage of the historic trial involving a former or current president facing criminal charges. Smith’s team also expressed concerns that TV coverage could pose risks to the trial, such as potentially intimidating witnesses and jurors.
In August, a federal grand jury indictment charged Trump with attempting to defraud the federal government and obstruct Congress by knowingly spreading false claims of election fraud. This allegedly incited his supporters to attack the Capitol on January 6, 2021, with accusations that Trump deliberately allowed the violence to unfold.
Last month, news organizations formally requested Chutkan’s permission for live coverage of the trial, highlighting the unusual public interest and the challenges of accommodating spectators near Capitol Hill.
Democratic lawmakers and news outlets urged the Judicial Conference to make an exception for televising the Trump D.C. trial. However, at a recent meeting, a committee stated it lacked the authority to grant an exception, and changing the rule would take years.
Trump’s recent filing criticizes Smith’s team and Chutkan, accusing them of repeatedly violating his rights and intentionally disrupting his reelection bid for the White House next year. Despite leading in GOP nomination opinion polls, Trump alleges interference from both parties.
“There is a high risk that proceeding behind closed doors under these circumstances would serve to further undermine confidence in the United States justice system, while continuing to prejudice President Trump’s rights,” Lauro and Blanche wrote.
Trump’s attorneys said he favors TV coverage of the Washington trial in part because it will allow the public to “hear all the evidence regarding an election that President Trump believes was rigged and stolen.”
Trump’s filing appears to acknowledge a mutually beneficial relationship between him and the mainstream news media. The coverage of the controversial former president undeniably enhances the ratings and readership of major TV networks, newspapers, and online news outlets.
Although Trump supports the initiative by these media sources to broadcast the trial live, his legal team also subtly criticizes certain members of the press.
They argue that not allowing such coverage would compel the public to depend on “biased, secondhand accounts coming from the Biden Administration and its media allies.”
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