- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The first trial for a defendant charged in connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol will take place behind closed doors, shutting out the new media, family members and most everyone else not directly participating in the proceedings.

The heightened privacy in the trial of Texas resident Guy Reffitt, 48, was ordered because of space concerns, according to Judge Dabney Friedrich who made the call.

Mr. Reffitt pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges of bringing a gun to the riot, assaulting officers and threatening his son and daughter to stay quiet about their involvement in the incident.

Media groups have filed a motion to allow them at least limited access to the courtroom. The press currently will be allowed to watch the proceedings on closed-circuit TV.

“Even with the accommodations of media rooms, overflow courtrooms, and the facilitated release of exhibits, the First Amendment and clear Supreme Court precedent require public access to the trial courtroom itself,” the court filing read. 

Among the outlets requesting increased access are CNN, ABC News, The New York Times, Gannett Co. and The Washington Post.

They requested the court review the motion as soon as possible. Witness testimony is expected to begin Tuesday or Wednesday.

Federal courtrooms typically don’t permit recordings of their proceedings to be widely broadcast.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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