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Nerf Darts and Secret Witnesses, The Trials of Josh Schulte Move from One To Two, A Tale

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
Books - Guardian - Honduras - ESPN NY Mag

LITERARY SDNY, June 12– During the first trial of Josh Shulte, when the courtroom was declared sealed for CIA witnessed, Kurt Wheelock had stood outside by the elevators on the 14th floor of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, live tweeting as much as he could about those who walked in or out. 

  Now for the retrial, additional precautions were being taken. The new judge referred obliquely to some other courtroom where they had been meeting about classified information.

  And during the CIA witnesses testimony in the second the trial, which Wheelock's colleague Michael Randall Long had applied unsuccessfully to unseal, even the jurors would be asked to step out in advance.  

  Just the previous month during the We Build the Wall trial of Tim Shea, Kurt has live tweeted a jury note that Judge Analisa Torres read out in open court. The jurors, 11 of them, called out a twelfth and named him: Roberto, Juror Number Four.

Kurt tweeted that, then heard Judge Torres say, I want that stricken from the transcript. But live tweeting was a form of transcript, and now it was too late.

Kurt didn't like taking down articles or tweets (although he had done so, only once, when the prosecutors in the Larry Ray trial asked for the list of Claudia Drury's prostitution clients to come down).  

 Now as the second trial approached, Kurt resolved not to cover jury selection, so as to not be tempted. He wasn't much interested in the opening statements either. It was the CIA witnesses that attracted, the forbidden or seal fruit. How would he approach it differently than the first time around?

  A first step was to look back at how the first trial had been. Even with the sealing orders, Judge Crotty had allowed pool reporters into the courtroom for the CIA witnesses. And why not here? Why no public hearing? 

Then there was the juror who had been kicked off, just before the verdict, for reading news about the case. Kurt had run down to the courthouse lobby to hear her out, then back up to live tweet some more. Would that be possible this time? When the testimony began in earnest? More on Patreon here  


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