Donald Trump‘s indictment hearing will not be recorded after a New York judge barred all video coverage of the monumental arraignment.
Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan confirmed the ruling late on Monday night – after the former president’s lawyers fought to keep cameras out.
Just five pool cameras will be allowed to shoot inside the courtroom, but they will only be able to take still photographs before the arraignment kicks off.
Judge Merchan wrote: ‘Never in the history of the United States has a sitting or past President been indicted on criminal charges. Mr. Trump’s arraignment has generated unparalleled public interest and media attention.’
But despite admitting ‘this indictment involves a matter of monumental significance,’ he ruled that ‘unfortunately, although genuine and undoubtedly important, the interests of the News Organizations must be weighed against competing interests.’
Previously, Trump’s lawyers had filed a motion to keep cameras out of the courtroom to avoid a spectacle when he enters his plea.
Trump’s indictment hearing will not be recorded, a judge ruled late on Monday
Juan Manuel Merchan made the ruling. It comes just hours before Trump is expected in the courtroom
The still photographers will be allowed to take images for ‘several minutes,’ before then being directed to ‘vacate’ the jury box.
‘No further photography will be permitted after that,’ the judge ruled.
Media organizations had sought the expanded access for the event, but New York state law allows judges considerable authority to set the terms of proceedings they oversee.
The ruling suggested that a still image that would include the former president would be captured for the news and for posterity, but that the public would not get to see Trump’s reactions when his lawyers enter his expected ‘not guilty’ plea.
It comes after reports that Trump’s mug shot was unlikely to be made public after his historic arrest.
It comes as Trump flew to New York to be arrested and fingerprinted in the Stormy Daniels case – with a phalanx of media gathered outside the Manhattan courthouse and Trump making plans for a speech at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday.
New York courts don’t ordinarily allow for cameras, although a group of media outlets were able to seek an exception under state law.
Trump’s team opposed the move, ‘because it will create a circus-like atmosphere at the arraignment, raise unique security concerns, and is inconsistent with President Trump ‘s presumption of innocence,’ they wrote in a letter to Judge Juan Merchan.
Lawyers for former President Donald Trump don’t want a judge to allow cameras inside a Manhattan courthouse when he has his arraignment Tuesday
The move is one of several expected motions in what his lawyers say will be an aggressive legal strategy.
Trump is also making new moves, adding another lawyer to his stable of defenders. This time, he is adding Todd Blanche, a white collar criminal defense attorney who resigned from his law firm to take the Trump case.
He resigned his position as a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft because ‘ I have been asked to represent Trump in the recently charged DA case, and after much thought/consideration, I have decided it is the best thing for me to do and an opportunity I should not pass up,’ he wrote in an email, Politico reported.
A Manhattan grand jury has voted to indict former president Donald Trump over hush money paid to pornstar Stormy Daniels
Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, although he has acknowledged reimbursing Trump lawyer Michael Cohen $130,000 in the hush deal
Attorney Todd Blanche left his firm and will be representing Trump
He has previously represented figures in Trump world including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who was sentenced to more than seven years in prison on corruption charges, and who won a Trump pardon days before the president left office.
He also represented businessman Igor Fruman, a former associate of former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani who along with associate Lev Parnas helped introduce him to Ukrainians while the former New York mayor probed alleged Biden corruption in Ukraine.
Blanche’s LinkedIn page now lists him as the founding member of his own firm.
Blanche served as co-chief of the White Plains Division of the Southern District of New York, where he supervised Assistant US Attorneys in public corruption and RICO cases.
It comes as prominent New York attorney Joseph Tacopina, who has been conducting a spate of media appearances, could face a motion by prosecutors to step back from the case, due to past communications with Stormy Daniels when she was seeking representation.
The move to keep cameras out of the courtroom comes as Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene is planning a rally in New York Tuesday. Trump himself had called for protests, but plans to leave New York and give a speech at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night.