Former President Donald Trump’s criminal proceedings in Georgia will be livestreamed on YouTube, according to Atlanta News First.
Trump, the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has been indicted on 13 felony charges in Georgia related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state. After permitting a live broadcast of court proceedings by local news channels on Aug. 24, the presiding judge in the case, Judge Scott McAfee of the Fulton County Superior Court, ordered that they be telecast on the court’s YouTube channel, Atlanta News First reported.
The decision comes despite mixed opposition from Trump’s legal team to live broadcasting of his courtroom proceedings in any jurisdiction. Apart from Fulton County in Georgia, Trump is facing state criminal charges in New York as well as federal charges in Florida and Washington, D.C.
Trump’s attorneys in New York have argued against cameras in the courtroom, claiming they will create a “circus-like atmosphere,” while his lead attorney in Washington, D.C., John Lauro, has said he’d “welcome” cameras so that the “American people [may] see the truth.”
Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure currently prohibits broadcasts in federal courtrooms, with exemptions being possible only when granted on an ad hoc basis by the Judicial Conference of the United States. There is no record of any exemption ever being granted in the history of the federal judiciary, making it highly unlikely that Trump’s federal trials will be broadcast.
In New York City, the presiding judge of Trump’s arraignment, Juan Merchan, declined to permit live broadcasts of the proceedings during his arraignment on April 4. However, he allowed still photography briefly before proceedings began, resulting in a widely circulated photograph of Trump sitting in court.
In Georgia, McAfee issued a separate order on Thursday allowing spectators in the galleries of the court, usually members of the public and press, to use devices capable of recording in the courtroom, but for “non-recording purposes.”
Many left-wing organizations and elected officials have called for Trump’s trials to be entirely televised. On Aug. 3, the day of Trump’s arraignment in Washington, D.C., Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California led 35 congressional Democrats in writing a letter requesting that his federal trial in that case be broadcast.
It is possible, however, for Trump to be absent from court in Georgia for the entirety of his criminal proceedings, said Ronald Carlson, the Fuller E. Callaway professor emeritus at the University of Georgia School of Law, to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Under existing precedent, Trump can waive his right to be present from the get-go … [though] a judge may order a defendant to be present when his presence is needed to properly conduct the trial,” he said.
Arjun Singh on August 31, 2023