NBCUniversal News Group has filed a request to televise the upcoming election conspiracy trial of former President Donald Trump. The request was made in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. NBCU’s legal team, led by Theodore Boutrous Jr., argued that the extraordinary circumstances of a former president facing criminal charges warranted televised proceedings. They pointed out that civil and criminal trials have been televised routinely in many state courts without prejudice to any party or the administration of justice.
The network is seeking a pool camera with limited broadcast delay or a live feed provided by the court itself. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has scheduled the trial to begin on March 4, but no video access has been allowed during the pre-trial proceedings. Despite calls from lawmakers and media groups, reporters are prohibited from recording the proceedings, although a larger media room and overflow courtroom with a video feed have been made available.
Earlier this month, a media coalition of major networks and news organizations also filed an application for televised proceedings, along with a request to the Judicial Conference. However, NBCU’s request highlighted additional considerations, arguing that statutory interpretation, procedural rules, legal doctrine, and the First Amendment all support audiovisual access to the trial.
The network’s legal team contended that restricting public access to a limited number of reporters and a few members of the public physically present in the courtroom in Washington, D.C. serves no compelling government interest. They argued that the court already has the authority to permit video and audio of the proceedings, citing a Federal Rule of Criminal Procedures that does not prohibit the use of a pool camera or the court’s own equipment to capture the proceedings for transmission outside the courtroom.
Currently, only Trump’s Georgia criminal case appears likely to be televised due to state rules allowing it. Media requests for televised coverage of Trump’s federal criminal charges in Florida and his civil fraud trial in New York have been denied. The judge in Trump’s civil fraud trial has allowed limited camera access for shots of the courtroom environment before the proceedings begin.