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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Judge Bans Cameras from Peterson Trial

Aired August 18, 2003 - 19:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: In California, news cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom for a September 9 preliminary hearing in the murder trial of Scott Peterson. Peterson remains behind bars, charged with the murder of his pregnant wife and her unborn child.
CNN's David Mattingly has more on today's ruling.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Until now, every time Scott Peterson has walked into a courtroom, he's been watched by a camera. But Judge Al Girolami has ruled that there will be no cameras in the courtroom when Peterson returns for a preliminary hearing in September.

Agreeing with prosecutors, he concluded "to the extent that the television coverage would transform this very serious criminal trial into a reality television show, the court is reluctant to allow it."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a business. This isn't about truth, this isn't about the search for truth.

MATTINGLY: The ruling will have a huge impact on how the hearing will be covered. Already, outside the courthouse, dozens of cameras capture everyone who moves.

There are now 21 seats for reporters inside the courtroom. But more than 400 news organizations have contacted county officials for possible credentials.

The judge cited the future need to protect witnesses and victims in the case. Laci Peterson's family, the Rochas, issued a written statement pleading for the media to show restraint in broadcasting painful details in the slayings of Laci and her unborn son. They said, "This not a story, this is our life."

(on camera) The judge acknowledges the necessity at times for families to relive what he calls "their worst nightmares" in public court when sensitive information is released. But he decided there is no necessity for televising those proceedings and there will be no cameras in the courtroom when Scott Peterson returns for his preliminary hearing.

David Mattingly, CNN, San Francisco.

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