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Press Access To Live Cover EDNY Uneven, Barrack and Zuttola Trials Kafka So Far

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book
BBC - Honduras - CIA Trial book - NY Mag

EDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 30 – How does press access to U.S. Federal courts work? How should it? 

   In the District for the District of Columbia, you're allowed to bring your phone and laptop in. Inner City Press, which does the same most days in the SDNY, has covered proceeding in DDC and then quickly written them up, with laptop and Internet hot spot in the court's cafeteria.  

It is different in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the Brooklyn Federal court, where Inner City Press these days is covering, or trying to cover, US v. Zottola as well as US v. Barrack. They take your phone, and even, strangely, a laptop USB port. You can apply, case by case, to bring in electronics for a particular trial.

  Inner City Press did just that for the 1MDB trial of Roger Ng (with Jho Low on the run) held in EDNY earlier this year.

And it seems straight forward, to apply for a similar pass to bring in phone and laptop to cover the current US v. Thomas Barrack trial before EDNY Judge Brian M. Cogan.

  On the first day of trial, September 21, Inner City Press submitted an application to the EDNY Clerk of Court, open 10-1 and 2-3. It was told to wait in the document review room; it gave its Manhattan press pass to be copied in support.   Then it was told, a phone call would be coming. That's how it was notified of the US v. Ng pass, so fine. But no call came.

On Thursday, September 22, it asked again at the Clerk of Court and was told, You will be called.   With no call by September 28, a week after applying, Inner City Press checked again. It was handed a yellow Post-It note with the number of the EDNY District Executive's office.

Without cell phone, it called from the payphone in the court - only to be told it was not granted, to write a letter to District Executive Eugene J. Corcoran - and that it could only be delivered through the Clerk of Court. 

 On Thursday September 29, when Inner City Press in EDNY covered not only US v. Barrack but also two sentencings before Judges LeShawn DeArcy Hall and Ann M. Donnelly, it turned in a more detailed letter, attaching a print out from Google News showing Inner City Press' stories prominent in a search for Barrack and Grimes, and in a search for EDNY. On that basis, it is requesting an on-going hard-pass. 

  At 4:30 pm when the Barrack trial day was over it called the DE's office - but it was closed. It left  a voice mail, wanting to bring laptop to cover Friday's proceedings.

Receiving no response of any kind, Inner City Press amid the Zottola and Barrack trials went to the Clerk's Office again. They called up to the 5th floor, no answer. Later, Inner City Press did, polite on both side, "the papers are being reviewed." For nine days? The trial(s) slipping away.Watch this site.


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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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