AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Judge Rules Against Video Cameras in Courtroom During Trump Arraignment

Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan issued a decision Monday night that video cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom on Tuesday afternoon when Donald Trump is arraigned. Five pool still photographers will be allowed to take pictures for “several minutes” before the arraignment gets underway.

Trump’s lawyers argued against media requests to have video cameras in the courtroom, saying it would create a “circus-like atmosphere” and is “inconsistent with the presumption of innocence.” Media interests argued that it was in the public interest to allow the unprecedented proceedings to be broadcast.

Judge Merchan agreed with the nature of the proceedings and that there is a significant public interest, saying:

“That this indictment involves a matter of monumental significance cannot possibly be disputed. Never in the history of the United States has a sitting or past President been indicted on criminal charges.

“The populace rightly hungers for the most accurate and current information available. To suggest otherwise would be disingenuous.”

Judge Merchan wrote that the interests of the news organizations and the public must be balanced with other interests, including the “extraordinary security concerns associated with this arraignment,” whether or not the coverage would interfere with law enforcement activity, and upholding the dignity and decorum of the proceedings,” and made his ruling after “considering all relevant factors.”


Of course, Maggie Haberman believes that Trump didn’t want the proceedings broadcast because it would then be easier for him to “lie” to his supporters, telling CNN before the ruling:

It is absolutely true that New York is really regressive, in terms of cameras in the courtroom. I do expect there’ll be an argument made. I’m not sure what the ruling will be on that.”

She continued, “But it’s interesting. I was thinking, as you were asking that question, there, one of the things we saw over and over, both with Michael Cohen, in terms of Trump, and then other people, in the White House? People have a habit of taping Donald Trump. And they have a habit of taping Donald Trump, because he spins his own reality, and will contradict whatever people say about him.”

Haberman emphasized, “A camera would be pretty vital, in terms of people understanding what happened, and not being told that something, it’s fake news. And in an era, where Trump is saying that all of these reports are not true? I think there is a compelling argument for it. I am skeptical that it will happen.”

Before the arraignment occurs, Trump will surrender to authorities and be processed, including having his fingerprints recorded.

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