Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

You May Not Use Your iPad to Cover the Blagojevich Trial

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "Suppose they redacted Lincoln's speech," said attorney Sam Adam, "where he said 'with malice toward none and charity for all' and they redacted it so it came out 'with malice.'" (Published Tuesday, May 18, 2010)

    No iPads allowed.

    During a meeting today with reporters from the major Chicago news organizations, Judge Zagel laid down the coverage law for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's trial, which'll be held in this building in downtown Chicago on the 25th floor starting June 3rd.

    Among the rules designed to protect the decorum of the courtroom: no iPads. However, any small PDA with a QWERTY keyboard is allowed.

    The rules discussed this morning:

    • 38% of seats are reserved for the media in main courtoom, or 24 out of approximately 64 seats.
    • Rest of the press will sit in the overflow courtoom.
    • No video feed, only audio.
    • No laptops.
    • No iPads.
    • Blackberries okay. Judge Zagel said he was Granting that permission "provisionally".
    • Jurors will not be named. Numbers only. Judge doesn't want them hounded by emails.

    Last week, Judge Zagel also released a draft order stipulating rules. According to the draft, media would be barred from conducting interviews on the 25th floor (per usual procedure), and would have 45 minutes from court session adjournment to interview participants in the lobby of the building.

    To be fair, the reason Zagel's setting such strict rules is because the court is concerned the trial will become nothing more than a media frenzy. That possibility, of course, is what Blagojevich's attorneys are counting on -- the more disruptions in the court, the more publicity in the press, the greater the likelihood of a mistrial and/or a grounds for appeal.