Trump Federal Cases Won’t Be on TV as Broadcast Ban Remains

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(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s two federal trials won’t be on TV next year after a key judicial body didn’t take action to change the rules.

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The Judicial Conference of the United States didn’t discuss calls from lawmakers to authorize cameras in the courtrooms for the Trump cases when the judges met Tuesday for their semiannual meeting. The group’s meetings are closed to the public, but a member briefed reporters afterward.

The conference’s rules have long barred broadcasting criminal cases, but the public was granted temporary permission to watch or listen to hearings during the pandemic. The conference announced on Tuesday that they would continue to allow audio access to some civil and bankruptcy hearings, but not criminal cases.

There has been intense public appetite for details on what’s happening in the four criminal cases pending against the former president. Members of Congress sent a letter in August asking the group to consider allowing cameras in the federal cases against the former president in Florida and Washington.

The ruling doesn’t mean there will be a total blackout on Trump courtroom coverage.

Aside from the two federal cases, Trump also faces charges in state courts in New York and Georgia. New York doesn’t allow broadcasting but Georgia does, and the public has been be able to watch the proceedings.

Three of the trials are set for next year, but a date in Georgia hasn’t been scheduled for Trump yet.

The conference is set to meet again in February. During the post-meeting briefing with reporters, Chief Judge Lavenski Smith of the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, who serves as the chair of the conference’s executive committee, didn’t indicate if the issue might come up again.

The request for cameras from House Democrats was redirected to a Judicial Conference committee that explores potential changes to the rules that govern criminal cases. The matter is “pending consideration,” according to the judiciary’s website. Committees can recommend new or revised rules for the conference to review.

Congress could also act to give judges discretion to allow recording and televising proceedings, but a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate in March hasn’t moved out of committee.

--With assistance from Greg Stohr.

(Updates status of the House Democrats’ request for broadcasts in ninth paragraph)

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