MEDIA GROUP CRIES FOUL
Stewart judge bars reporters from jurors
Published: Friday, January 16, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 16, 2004 at 12:04 a.m.
NEW YORK - The federal judge in the Martha Stewart case said Thursday that members of the media will not be allowed to watch the questioning of prospective jurors - a process usually held in open court.
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said she was concerned reporters might disclose the names of potential jurors and their answers to the questions they are asked.
"There is a substantial risk that such publication or the possibility of such publication would prevent prospective jurors from giving full and frank answers to questions posed to them," she wrote.
The judge said she would release a transcript of the interviews the following day, with names withheld. The interviews are to begin Tuesday.
Lawyers for various media organizations covering the trial planned to ask the judge to hear them today and reconsider her ruling.
"We don't believe Judge Cedarbaum followed the proper procedures, nor do we think that this type of order is justified in this case," said Stephanie S. Abrutyn, a lawyer for Tribune Co., which owns Newsday.
Hundreds of prospective jurors have already filled out questionnaires.
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