Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema will not say until Tuesday at the earliest
whether the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui can be televised, she told a packed
courtroom in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday morning.
Questions Brinkema asked also indicated that she is considering a compromise, such
as allowing audio but not video.
The Department of Justice, represented by attorney Elizabeth Collery, argued
that televising the trial could compromise the security of witnesses, as well as
give Moussaoui an even broader platform to promote an agenda.
Brinkema agreed with this point of view, saying that airing the trial
"certainly does pose a security risk," but attorneys for the networks didn't
think that comment hinted at how she would rule.
Lee Levine, attorney for
intervenors Courtroom Television Network and C-SPAN, said terrorists would have a great deal of
access to the trial through other forms of media, anyway.
"This goes back to the question of what the difference is between having
members of the press and cameras in the courtroom," C-SPAN vice
president and general counsel Bruce Collins said.
Court TV and C-SPAN have gathered wide support from other media organizations
in their quest to get the Moussaoui trial broadcast. ABC, NBC, CBS, Cable News Network, the
Radio-Television News Directors Association and the Reporters Committee for
Freedom of the Press have all filed "friend-of-the-court" briefs with the
Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Moussaoui was present at the hearing, but he remained silent. His
court-appointed attorney, Edward McMahon, offered only two sentences in support
of Court TV: "Mr. Moussaoui doesn't object to Court TV's motion. He believes it
would assist in an added layer of protection for other people to see and watch."
Moussaoui has been pressing for the trial itself, but not any pretrial
proceedings, to be broadcast because he believes it will aid his chances of
getting a fair hearing.
The trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 14.