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Why the Trump trial should be televised

Washington Post – Opinion – Neal Katyal, a law professor at Georgetown University, served as acting solicitor general of the United States from 2010 to 2011. “The upcoming trial of United States v. Donald J. Trump will rank with Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education and Dred Scott v. Sandford as a defining moment for our history and our values as a people. And yet, federal law will prevent all but a handful of Americans from actually seeing what is happening in the trial. We will be relegated to perusing cold transcripts and secondhand descriptions. The law must be changed. While many states allow cameras in courtrooms, federal courts generally do not. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53 states: “Except as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom.” Whatever the virtues of this rule might have been when it was adopted in 1946, it is beyond antiquated today. We live in a digital age, where people think visually and are accustomed to seeing things with their own eyes. A criminal trial is all about witnesses and credibility, and the demeanor of participants plays a big role. A cold transcript cannot convey the emotion on a defendant’s face when a prosecution witness is on the stand, or how he walks into the courtroom each day…This criminal trial is being conducted in the name of the people of the United States. It is our tax dollars at work. We have a right to see it. And we have the right to ensure that rumormongers and conspiracy theorists don’t control the narrative.”

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