According to federal regulations, the two federal trials involving former President Donald Trump will not be televised. The decision could make a major difference in public perceptions of the president’s defense and access to trial information.
The trial will not be televised, according to revised rules by the Judicial Conference. The organization is responsible for policy within federal courts.
The organization heard pleas from more than three dozen House Democrats to consider allowing the trial to be broadcast.
The organization said that federal rules “permit judges presiding over civil and bankruptcy cases to provide the public live audio access to non-trial proceedings that do not involve witness testimony,” but that their decision “does not extend to criminal proceedings.”
According to the chairman of the organization’s Executive Committee, U.S. Circuit Judge Lavenski Smith, there were no specific requests before the body regarding Trump’s trial in particular.
Georgia judge says Trump trial will be televised and live streamed, but it's totally not a show trial! https://t.co/Sm5Heejjeg
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) September 2, 2023
“The answer to that question at present is controlled by federal rules that prohibit cameras in criminal proceedings under Rule 53, and unless actions are taken to modify that rule, that will be the status of things,” he said.
Some Republicans have called for greater court access, including Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley introduced the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2023, which would allow judges to decide whether or not to use cameras. The bill has not passed either house of Congress.
The federal decision came after a Georgia judge announced that the Fulton County District Attorney’s case against the former president would be broadcast.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said last month that Trump’s trial related to the aftermath of the 2020 election in Georgia would be livestreamed.
The judge said that the decision was made “with the spirit of transparency” and that the court will have a “YouTube feed the entire time.”
The decision regarding the Georgia trial also comes amid speculation that Trump’s legal team may ask that case to move to federal court:
Separately, Trump’s trial in New York stemming from an alleged brief relationship with former adult actress Stormy Daniels may be delayed. The Trump legal team requested a hiatus in the case until after the 2024 election.