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Media Ask Judge To Allow TV Coverage Of Trump D.C. Trial

In filings this month, news organizations asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to allow live television coverage of the trial of former President Trump on charges that he conspired to undermine the 2020 election. They face an uphill fight, reports the New York Times. A federal rule of criminal procedure stands in their way, and the Supreme Court is wary of cameras in courtrooms, notably its own. One of the applications, from the corporate parent of NBC News, made an argument grounded in the text of a key roadblock to live television coverage: Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The application said Rule 53 allows the court to record the proceedings for posterity. That argument, relying on the plain words of the provision, is in keeping with a mode of statutory interpretation known as textualism that is embraced by conservatives. NBC argued that relaying a video feed from the courtroom to its , and then broadcasting it to the public, perhaps after a brief delay, would not run afoul of the rule.


Judge Tanya Chutkan, could authorize audiovisual recordings to be created and released in due course, responding to the claims not of the news cycle but of the historical record. That would not seem to be broadcasting from the courtroom. Rebecca Blumenstein, president of editorial for NBC News, asked Judge Chutkan to do at least that. "At a minimum, I urge this court to allow the video recording of proceedings for historical posterity,” Blumenstein said. "It would be a great loss if future generations of Americans were forever deprived of being able to access and view the events of this trial even years after the verdict, which would immeasurably improve the ability of future journalists and historians to retell accurately and meaningfully analyze this unique chapter of American history.” The second application, from a coalition of news organizations, pointed out that Chutkan’s courtroom “is already equipped to record and broadcast the criminal proceedings.” It said, “The district court courtrooms have cameras, which are used to stream proceedings to the overflow and media rooms,” the application said. “Indeed, for President Trump’s arraignment on Aug. 11, the court livestreamed proceedings to two separate media rooms for members of the media, as well as a public overflow room.”




































































































































































































































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Rebecca Blumenstein, the president of editorial for NBC News and a former deputy managing editor of The New York Times, asked Judge Chutkan to do at least that much.

“At minimum, I urge this court to allow the video recording of proceedings for historical posterity,” Ms. Blumenstein said in a sworn statement submitted with NBC’s application. “It would be a great loss if future generations of Americans were forever deprived of being able to access and view the events of this trial even years after the verdict, which would immeasurably improve the ability of future journalists and historians to retell accurately and meaningfully analyze this unique chapter of American history.” The second application, from a coalition of news organizations including The Times, pointed out that Judge Chutkan’s courtroom “is already equipped to record and broadcast the criminal proceedings.”

“The district court courtrooms have cameras, which are used to stream proceedings to the overflow and media rooms,” the application said. “Indeed, for President Trump’s arraignment on Aug. 11, the court livestreamed proceedings to two separate media rooms for members of the media, as well as a public overflow room.”

That shows two things: Not all camera coverage is a broadcast from the courtroom, and creating a record of historical value would require a minimal effort. The video could then be released after a short period — perhaps at the end of the day, or the week, or the trial.

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