Reporting Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia judge will hear arguments Wednesday on the District Attorney’s motion for a gag order on participants in the basement captives’ case. The D.A.’s office, which will not comment, claims in court papers that the media is ‘hindering’ the case.
While a judge handling the Gosnell abortion case and the priest abuse allegations slapped gag orders to limit chatter in those upcoming trials, the D.A. is now requesting that the court limit publicity in the dungeon case. Prosecutors cite overzealous media coverage, including ‘manipulating’ victims into doing interviews, and trespassing.
There is however, objection to the motion.
“The people of Philadelphia aren’t going to be in that courtroom,” said George Yacoubian, attorney for main defendant, Linda Weston. “They rely on the media to report on what’s happening throughout this process.”
Prosecutors claim reporters entered one of the buildings in which captives were held without permission, and under questionable circumstances, obtained and showed the ID of one defendant.
“My response in the motion was that if any specific members of the media were alleged to have been involved in any criminal activity: trespassing, obstructing justice, obstructing a police investigation, burglary (then) the proper remedy is arrest,” Yacoubian said.
When Yacoubian makes an appearance on Wednesday before a judge, he will ask the court to deny the Commonwealth’s motion to limit publicity.
Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060