The debate over federal court rules prohibiting the televised coverage of trials has intensified as former President Donald Trump is scheduled to face trial for Espionage Act offenses in the upcoming months. A retired federal judge believes these rules are outdated and should be eliminated.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin on Friday, former judge Nancy Gertner strongly criticized the outdated rule preventing the televised coverage of trials, particularly highlighting its impact on the upcoming trial of former President Donald Trump for Espionage Act offenses.
Gertner argued that the restriction on cameras in the courtroom not only complicates matters related to classified information but also reflects an increasingly absurd rationale provided by the Judicial Conference of the United States, which has opposed cameras in the courtroom for over three decades.
“Let me start with the classified information issue, because that actually is an enormous complication,” Gertner said. “Even if you are sitting in the courtroom as a member of the public physically there, you may not be entitled to see the evidence that is being presented in this case. There could be circumstances under which the only people who can see the evidence is the judge’s lawyers, who have not got security clearance, and that would be yet. It would be kept from the public, even the public sitting there. So you can’t deny how complicated this is going to be in a physical setting to deal with classified information. Quite apart from cameras.”
Gertner emphasized that even during the pandemic, video technology was successfully employed to convey court proceedings without compromising the dignity of the courtroom. She urged the Judicial Conference to reconsider its stance and engage in discussions regarding the use of cameras, especially considering the public nature of certain cases.
Regarding Judge Aileen Cannon, a controversial district judge appointed by Trump who is assigned to preside over the trial, Gertner expressed doubt that she would recuse herself despite calls from many experts to do so. However, she expressed concerns about Judge Cannon’s previous actions, which demonstrated a degree of bias and special treatment toward Trump during the investigation.
“I doubt very much if she will recuse herself,” Gertner opined. “The only ground for the government to seek her recusal is that what she did in the investigation was not just bad judgment but essentially carving out rules and procedures that did not ever apply to a criminal prosecution and curving out special treatment of a federal because he was the President of the United States. So her ruling demonstrated degree of bias which was extraordinary. Will she recuse herself? Doubtful. Will Jack Smith move to recuse her? I actually think that’s doubtful as well.”
See the interview below from MSNBC.