Former President Donald Trump is fighting yet another court battle, this time in Georgia. Last night Trump was indicted along with 18 others, including Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and several of Trump’s advisors on charges relating to the 2020 election.
The charges are being called a “racketeering case” with actions by the Trump campaign as they traveled to Georgia during the voting to expose ballot irregularities alleged to have been somehow attempting to “reverse the results” of the election in a “criminal enterprise,” The NY Times claims.
But this court appearance for Trump may be unlike any others, due to laws in Georgia regarding cameras in the courtroom. Under Georgia law, judges can weigh several factors when deciding whether to allow cameras, including the consent of the parties involved, concerns over the safety of those participating in proceedings, and the impact on due process.
As NBC News stated:
In 2018, the Georgia Supreme Court, in an order amending the law to include smartphones, underscored the importance of transparency: “Open courtrooms are an indispensable element of an effective and respected judicial system.
Unlike federal or Manhattan courts, where the former president appeared for his three previous arraignments, Georgia law requires that cameras be allowed into judicial proceedings with a judge’s approval. The presiding judge has the final say on camera access. Media organizations are required to file a formal request, known as Rule 22, for the judge’s consideration. The filing is often considered more of a formality, as the requests are almost always granted.
So, in Georgia, if Trump is brought into a Georgia courtroom the proceedings are likely to be broadcast live on TV, and potentially that the proceedings in entirety may be broadcast, which would be a first.
NBC News continued:
“It is the policy of Georgia’s courts to promote access to and understanding of court proceedings not only by the participants in them but also by the general public and by news media who will report on the proceedings to the public.”
This means that if the former president is indicted and required to travel to Atlanta for an in-person arraignment, the world would likely see him on camera for the first time as a defendant, standing before a judge and entering a plea. Up until now, there have been only a handful of photos allowed in the New York City courtroom before his arraignments. And there has been no video of Trump — or his lawyers — uttering the words “not guilty.”
An example of Georgia’s eager use of cameras has already been seen in the case.
Although the 2020 election was years ago, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has waited more than two years to bring the charges.
Willis’ investigation into whether Trump and his allies broke the law in Georgia in their efforts to prove that the election results were flawed has ignored the flawed factors and alleges that Trump and his team sought to change the results of the election themselves. As that process unfolded in Fulton County Superior Court, it also played out in front of television cameras.
NBC News noted:
Cameras captured the seating of the special grand jury impaneled to investigate election interference. Earlier this year, Judge Robert McBurney also allowed cameras inside a contentious hearing to determine if the Special Purpose Grand Jury’s report would be released to the public.
As Willis announced the indictment, she is seen gleeful and one immediately notes that she will certainly be using cameras to her advantage.
Cameras have already been present last month for the seating of the grand jury that will hear Willis’ case against Trump.
McBurney, who has overseen most of the proceedings related to Willis’ investigation into election interference, is particularly media savvy. Many of his hearings, including those regarding the Trump investigation, have been live-streamed on his YouTube channel.
The 98-page indictment outlines the 13 charges against Trump which boil down to violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations or RICO Act, created in 1970 to combat organized crime. The Hill reports that Georgia’s version of the law is broad; the state law can be aimed at any “enterprise” meaning prosecutors can use it for a broader array of conduct.
And it appears DA Willis and Georgia Democrats are trying to do just that, but the truth may get in their way. Trump is assuring of his innocence and the truth, posting today:
“A Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT on the Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia is almost complete & will be presented by me at a major news conference at 11:00 am on Monday of next week in Bedminster, New Jersey. Based on the results of this CONCLUSIVE Report, all charges should be dropped against me and others – They never went after those that Rigged the Election. They only went after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!”