Sunday, June 23, 2024

Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump have requested that his trial on federal charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election be televised live from the courtroom. This is the first time Trump has formally addressed the issue of whether to broadcast any of the four criminal trials he is facing. His motion to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who is overseeing the federal election trial in Washington, was filed after similar requests made by media organizations.

A judge in Georgia handling Trump’s state election subversion case has agreed to televise the proceedings. However, the request to Judge Chutkan will likely face challenges due to federal rules of criminal procedure and the Supreme Court’s general prohibition of cameras in federal courtrooms.

The motion for a televised trial was filed in Trump’s bombastic and combative style. His lawyers argued that a televised trial was necessary because the office of the special counsel had “sought to proceed in secret” with the election case, despite the case’s public attention and multiple public hearings.

The lawyers also used the motion to complain about unfair treatment of Trump by the Biden administration, despite the independent oversight of the cases by the special counsel. It is not surprising that Trump, a former reality television star, would want the trial to be broadcast live.

As his recent testimony in his civil fraud trial has shown, he aims to create noisy conflict to obscure the legal issues and use the proceedings to amplify his message of victimhood and grievance that is central to his re-election campaign.

Trump’s filing was a sharp turn from his previous stance on the issue when prosecutors informed the judge that his lawyers were taking “no position” on televising the trial.

In their filing, prosecutors working for the special counsel also stated that televising the trial was “clearly foreclosed” by federal rules.

The prosecutors acknowledged the public and media’s constitutional right of access to the trial but argued that it does not include the right to broadcast it. Trump’s filing disregarded these arguments and relied on his usual assertive and aggressive style, demanding that the proceedings should be fully televised for the American public to see that the case is an unconstitutional charade.

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