Trump legal professionals reject cameras at New York trials

Former U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he boards his plane at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida April 3, 2023.

Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump are asking a judge to deny a request by media outlets for cameras in a Manhattan courtroom where Trump is scheduled to face criminal charges on Tuesday.

“We propose that the media motion should be denied because it will create a circus atmosphere at the indictment, raises unique security concerns and is inconsistent with President Trump’s presumption of innocence,” Trump’s attorneys said in their letter to Judge Juan Merchan.

The letter was released as Trump flew from his Florida home to New York City in anticipation of his court appearance.

Trump was indicted by a grand jury Thursday because his then-attorney paid $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election.

He is the first former US president to be prosecuted, a fact cited by the group of media outlets who asked Merchan for permission to document the indictment Tuesday using still and video cameras in addition to radio recorders.

The Manhattan attorney’s office prosecuting Trump did not comment on whether the judge should allow cameras in the courtroom in a separate letter to Merchan Monday.

However, that letter from Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo noted that the New York State Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law banning audiovisual reporting of most court proceedings.

And Colangelo added that “even where cameras are not categorically prohibited,” judges have discretion to “supervise the conduct of judicial proceedings.”

“It would therefore be a reasonable exercise of the court’s discretion to preclude or limit video, photo and radio transmission of the indictment in order to avoid potential disadvantage to the defendant, to maintain an orderly trial, and to ensure the safety of those taking part in the indictment.” or otherwise within the broad powers of the court to administer and control this proceeding,” the letter said.

But Colangelo also pointed out that Merchan recently allowed stills to be taken in his courtroom before the start of the Trump Organization law enforcement trial.

In this case, Trump’s company was convicted of a plan to avoid paying taxes on executive pay.

Follow our live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s surrender and indictment in Manhattan Criminal Court.

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