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Media outlets ask for cameras in court for Trump election interference trial

A coalition of media outlets is pushing the judge overseeing the election interference case of former President Trump to allow cameras in the courtroom — asking for an unprecedented shift in the federal court system.

“We have never, in the history of our Nation, had a federal criminal trial that warrants audiovisual access more than the federal prosecution of former President Trump for allegedly trying to subvert the will of the people,” according to the application, which was filed Thursday and first reported Friday.

“The prosecution of a former president, now a presidential contender, on charges of subverting the electoral process, presents the strongest possible circumstances for continuous public oversight of the justice system.”

Trump is set to face trial March 4 on charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstructing the certification of the votes being carried out by Congress and a conspiracy “against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.”

The push was made by a number of news organizations, from The New York Times to Univision to the Associated Press. 

Media outlets face an uphill battle to get any cameras into a federal courtroom, and Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing Trump’s federal prosecution in the Mar-a-Lago case, rejected similar calls in her Florida courtroom.

Long-standing federal court precedent bars televising the hearings or recording them in any fashion.

Some lawmakers have pushed for a change in federal court system rules that prohibit the practice, but such a process would likely take years. 

Still, the media coalition argues the courtroom rule rests on “outdated and long disproven views about recording and broadcasting trials.”

The group argued advancements in technology have allowed broadcast without disruption, noting the extent to which many courtrooms turned to virtual appearances during the pandemic.

The coalition also said broadcast would help the public understand the proceedings in such a high-stakes legal battle, “helping to secure public confidence in the outcome of the case.”

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team recently echoed similar concerns in asking for a narrow gag order in the case that would bar Trump from public attacks on witnesses, court personnel and even prosecutors, warning the comments could jeopardize the case and the public’s acceptance of the jury’s decision.

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