- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 19, 2002

A federal judge in Virginia yesterday rejected Court TV's request to televise the trial of accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, ruling there were "significant concerns" about security during the trial of the first person to be indicted in the September 11 attacks on America.
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, in a 13-page ruling, said the court "has no discretion to disregard the present ban on the photographing and broadcasting of federal criminal proceedings," citing what she described as too many security concerns to overturn the existing ban.
"Moreover … any societal benefits from photographing and broadcasting these proceedings are heavily outweighed by the significant dangers worldwide broadcasting of this trial would pose to the orderly and secure administration of justice," she said.
Judge Brinkema also ruled that the prohibition against cameras in federal courtrooms does not violate the constitutional rights of either the public or the broadcast media, as Court TV had argued.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty argued in a motion that making an exception to the court's already-existing rules banning cameras in federal courts would endanger jurors, witnesses and court officials. He said in the motion that Court TV had provided "no substantial reason why existing case law … should be discarded in favor of a blanket constitutional rule."
Moussaoui's attorneys had asked the judge to approve the Court TV motion, arguing that it would help guarantee a fair trial.
"We are pleased with the court's decision," said Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra.
Indicted Dec. 11 by a federal grand jury on six counts of conspiracy, Moussaoui is accused of scheming with Osama bin Laden and members of the al Qaeda terrorist network to murder thousands of people in the September 11 attacks. Four of the counts call for the death penalty.
Judge Brinkema set March 29 as the deadline for the government to decide whether it will seek the death penalty. Trial has tentatively been set for Oct. 14.

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