New York Democrats are pushing for a way to televise the Trump trial

Since the Great Depression, New York state has been known as one of the most restrictive in the country when it comes to courtroom reporting, with longstanding bans on cameras, recording equipment, and broadcast equipment that are otherwise essential for the public to see and hear what’s happening in the state’s courtrooms happens.

However, with former President Donald Trump set to be impeached on Tuesday to begin what may be the most scrutinized public trial in the state’s history, that tradition could be coming to an end.

Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on Thursday on allegations that he tampered with business records to offer former adult film star Stormy Daniels a hush money payment in exchange for her silence during the 2016 election cycle. Trump is the first former president to be indicted in a criminal case. His indictment is scheduled for Tuesday.

The former president denies any wrongdoing in the matter. His former attorney, Michael Cohen, testified that he paid Daniels $130,000 before the 2016 presidential election to prevent her from going public about an affair with Trump on Trump’s orders. Trump also denies the affair.

Trump signal
Former President Donald Trump (left) and New York State Judiciary Committee Chairman Brad Hoylman-Sigal. On Monday, Hoylman-Sigal introduced legislation to overturn this ban on audiovisual equipment in court, offering news outlets the ability to livestream the event and give people an unvarnished look at Trump’s trial.
Scott Olson/Roy Rochlin/Newsweek Photo Illustration/Getty Images

On Monday, Manhattan Democrat and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brad Hoylman-Sigal introduced legislation in court to overturn the audiovisual ban, giving news outlets the ability to livestream the event and giving people a candid look into the trial against Trump.

If passed, Washington, DC would become the only other place in the country to ban their use in the courtroom, ending a tradition that has made New York one of the most restrictive media environments in the country for court reporters.

“As the media capital of the world — and the scene of the impeachment of Donald Trump — we need to change this outdated law so the public can witness trials,” Hoylman-Sigal said during a Sunday news conference announcing the law. “With a unique trial on the horizon, no time can be wasted opening the courthouse doors to the media and the American public.”

news week emailed Trump’s campaign for comment.

Trump’s lawyers have already pushed for a camera ban on Tuesday, arguing in a letter seen by CNN that it would “create a circus-like atmosphere at the indictment, raise unique security concerns and be inconsistent with President Trump’s presumption of innocence.”

Efforts to film Trump’s trial already have supporters, particularly in the media.

On Friday, Maggie Haberman — a CNN political analyst and reporter for the New York Times– appealed on the network that cameras in the courtroom were a “convincing argument of public interest”.

“People have a habit of picking up Donald Trump,” Haberman said. “And they have a habit of recording Donald Trump because he spins his own reality and contradicts everything people say about him. A camera would be pretty important for people to understand what happened and for them not to be told, that’s fake news.”

Legislation might be the only way to get there. Haberman added that she was “skeptical” that the ban would be lifted, noting that by the time she was reporting to courts there, she understood “how judges are against cameras in courtrooms” in New York.

If Hoylman-Sigal’s bill were passed, it could be in time for the trial. Under New York State law, the proposal — introduced as part of the state budget — would take effect 90 days after the law went into effect.

Trump’s trial is not expected to begin for months and could even be delayed until after the 2024 election. New York Democrats are pushing for a way to televise the Trump trial

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