Judge maintains gag order on Kelly case

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An attempt by the media to open up sealed documents from the R. Kelly case was denied by Judge Gaughan this morning.

The Sun-Times, Tribune, Associated Press and National Public Radio teamed up to ask for access to records of closed door hearings in the case, arguing that the public has a constitutional right to see justice done.

But though Gaughan said "if it wasn't for the press we wouldn't have the type of justice we have today," he said ensuring Kelly receives a fair trial was more important.

Gaughan cited the Michael Jackson case as a precedent for his ruling.

In his order, he wrote, "The presumption of openess in this case has been constitutionally overcome because closure is essential to preserve the defendant's right to a fair trial and its extent is narrowly tailored to serve that interest."

He added, "Time and again, it has been made clear that closure is necessary to protect the minor victim and the defendant's right to a fair trial by ensuring the jury will not be exposed to inadmissable or highly prejudicial evidence."

And he wrote, "The content of these sealed proceedings would most certainly result in publicity which would influence public opinion against the defendant and inform potential jurors of inculpatory information wholly inadmissable at his actual trial."

Defense attorneys failed in a bid to have the trial delayed last week, arguing that leaked accounts of the closed hearing in the Sun-Times had "irrevocably poisoned the jury pool."

Gaughan said that his order "is not permanent" but it is now likely to be in force until the end of the trial.

But Damon Dunn, who represented the media in its application to unseal the records, said after the ruling, "Justice delayed is justice denied - didn't somebody say that?"

Kelly's attorney, Marc Martin, also indicated today that he would continue in his attempts to subpoena Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis.

Outside court, Dunn responded that the media doesn't "waive reporter's priviledge" against testifying.

"This is a classic case where you've got a reporter covering a case, so you try to subpoena him," Dunn added.

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This page contains a single entry by Kim Janssen published on May 16, 2008 10:26 AM.

R. Kelly speaks: " I don't walk around with my pants down all day saying, 'Gimme a girl!'" was the previous entry in this blog.

Gumgate replaces Doughnutgate as top food-based Kelly scandal is the next entry in this blog.

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