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Status of Prop. 8 Closing Arguments Unclear

Status of Prop. 8 Closing Arguments Unclear


A federal court in San Francisco has removed from its website an earlier announcement that it would not allow closing arguments in the Proposition 8 trial to be televised.

Earlier today, the U.S. district court for the northern district of California had posted a memo on its website nixing the "simultaneous transmission of the proceedings outside the courthouse." Sources said the announcement was posted in error.

Thought it's unclear if the court will allow a live or delayed broadcast, a video feed of closing arguments will be available in an overflow courtroom, as was the case during the evidence phase of the trial in January.

CNN, NBC News, the Associated Press, and several other major news organizations had requested that the proceedings be televised, as they would not include witness testimony but rather the attorneys' arguments. Attorneys defending Prop. 8 in court had repeatedly fought against broadcast of the trial, claiming that their expert witnesses could be subjected to threats and intimidation as a result.

In a Monday letter to Judge Vaughn R. Walker, attorney Charles J. Cooper wrote that allowing cameras in the courtroom would also violate an earlier stay order by the U.S. Supreme Court, which in January blocked broadcast of trial proceedings as part of a pilot project previously approved by a judicial council of the ninth circuit court of appeals.

The court also stated on its website that a ruling in the case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is not expected on the same day as closing arguments.

The revised memo in full:


Chief Judge Walker has scheduled closing arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger for June 16, 2010 at 10:00 A.M. The proceedings are scheduled to end at 4:00 p.m., although the exact time cannot be predicted. A ruling is not expected on the day of the closing arguments.

All reserved seating passes have been allocated. Very limited seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for the main courtroom.

Simultaneous video transmission will be available in the ceremonial courtroom on the 19th Floor of the federal courthouse and for media representatives in the court's media center on the first floor.

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