After objections from news organizations, the judge presiding over Marilyn Mosby’s federal indictment has dropped plans to restrict media attendance at a key court hearing next week and will move the proceeding to a larger room.
A court official had told reporters yesterday that only three members of the media would have reserved seats in the courtroom where Mosby’s motion seeking dismissal of the case is being heard. Another seven seats were to be set aside for the public.
Last night word came that U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby had reconsidered the matter and moved next Thursday’s hearing to Courtroom 1A of the Edward A. Garmatz Building, a larger space.
The only restrictions in the courtroom, where both the public and reporters may gather, will be Covid-19 social distancing, according to the new directive emailed to news organizations by David Ciambruschini, chief deputy for the clerk of the U.S. District Court of Maryland.
“During the call, members of the press raised objections to some of the procedures announced on behalf of Judge Griggsby,” Ciambruschini wrote.
“Judge Griggsby values the input of the press and has carefully considered those objections.”
Wide Public Interest
In protesting the decision, The Brew and other news organizations pointed to the wide public interest in this case, in which Baltimore’s top prosecutor faces felony criminal charges.
Mosby was indicted in January on two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements on loan applications to buy vacation properties in Florida.
In motions seeking to have the case thrown out, her lawyers argue that the prosecutor and others harbor personal, political and racial bias towards her. A jury trial in the case is scheduled for September 19.
Other rules for the pre-trial hearing that were announced last night:
• Spectators and members of the press may not possess electronic devices in Courtroom 1A.
• An overflow viewing/audio room will be established in the Jury Assembly Room on the 4th floor of the courthouse for credentialed members of the press only.
• The use of electronic devices and blogging will be permitted in the overflow room. Audio or video recording, photography or broadcasting of the proceedings is prohibited.
• All court-wide policies on masking and vaccination will remain in place as detailed in Standing Order 2022-01 and Standing Order 2021-10. (Basically, masking is required in public areas, and visitors must show proof they are fully vaccinated or produce results of a recent negative Covid test.)