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Virtual Courtroom Closed to Press At NYC Gov Request In Constitutional Violations Case

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 6 – When can a Federal court proceeding, about Constitutional rights and involving the expenditure of public funds, be closed to the Press and public?

  Well, in the era of virtual telephone proceedings amid the COVID pandemic, at any time at all, it seems. 

 On January 6 Inner City Press called in to what was described as a "status conference" on a case in which a New York City prisoner sued claiming he was prohibited from exercising his religion. 

  When asked who had just joined the line, Inner City Press identified itself as always, and said it would go on mute to not disrupt anything. 

 But the NYC Corporation Counsel Sharon Vicky Sprayregen asked, Who was that? She did not want press coverage.

When (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate) Judge Katharine H. Parker came on the line, she said that the Administration was prepared to make a settlement offer, but she had thought this would be confidential. 

 The Judge asked Inner City Press to disconnect.

To not be disruptive, it prepared to do so, but unmuted to say, It is not listed as a settlement conference. But by then, it had been hung up on. 

  Should the City government, with tax payer funds, be confidentially offering monetary settlements to people whose rights it violates? 

  The case is Washington v. NYC Department of Corrections et al, 19-cv-5395 (Gardephe / Parker) 


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