Fact Check: Absence Of Cameras in Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Is NOT Evidence Of A Cover-Up -- They're Banned In Most Federal Courts

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Absence Of Cameras in Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Is NOT Evidence Of A Cover-Up -- They're Banned In Most Federal Courts Banned By Feds

Is there a cover-up in the case of Ghislaine Maxwell because while Kyle Rittenhouse's trial is televised, Maxwell's is not? No, that's not true: Rittenhouse was tried in Wisconsin state court, which allows television cameras and live streaming on the internet. Maxwell's trial was in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Cameras and live streaming are banned in federal court.

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published on Facebook on November 15, 2021. It opened:

What are they hiding? 🧐🥸

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Nov 17 18:14:22 2021 UTC)

The Facebook post showed a screen grab of a news article with a courtroom artist's sketch posted on The Guardian website on November 14, 2021 with the caption:

Rittenhouse's trial was streamed live for the world to see because he was a "white supremacist shooter", yet the one that is connected to Epstein and a global child trafficking ring for the elite and all we get is some cartoon drawing?

The restrictions on cameras in the courtroom applies throughout the federal court system, except in districts that are testing it out, so there's no logic to the claim that the lack of cameras proves a cover-up. In Rittenhouse's case in Wisconsin in a state court, the judge allowed cameras and live streaming of the November 2021 trial. The trial for Maxwell, who was billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's girlfriend and alleged co-conspirator, in federal court came under the federal prohibition against cameras in the courtroom.

The U.S. Courts government website details the History of Cameras in Courts:

Electronic media coverage of criminal proceedings in federal courts has been expressly prohibited under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53 since the criminal rules were adopted in 1946. Rule 53 states: "[e]xcept as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom."

The website notes updates as of 2016:

At its March 15, 2016 session, the Judicial Conference received the report of its Committee on Court Administration and Casement Management (CACM), which agreed not to recommend any changes to the Conference policy at that time. the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, in cooperation with the Judicial Conference authorized the three districts in the Ninth Circuit that participated in the cameras pilot (California Northern, Washington Western, and Guam) to continue the pilot program under the same terms and conditions to provide longer term data and information to CACM. The following is the current policy for cameras in trial courts:

A judge may authorize broadcasting, televising, recording, or taking photographs in the courtroom and in adjacent areas during investitive, naturalization, or other ceremonial proceedings. A judge may authorize such activities in the courtroom or adjacent areas during other proceedings, or recesses between such other proceedings, only:

1) for the presentation of evidence;
2) for the perpetuation of the record of the proceedings;
3) for security purposes;
4) for other purposes of judicial administration;
5) for the photographing, recording, or broadcasting of appellate arguments; or
6) in accordance with pilot programs approved by the Judicial Conference.

When broadcasting, televising, recording, or photographing in the courtroom or adjacent areas is permitted, a judge should ensure that it is done in a manner that will:

1) be consistent with the rights of the parties,
2) not unduly distract participants in the proceeding, and
3) not otherwise interfere with the administration of justice.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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