Reporters Are Barred From Bringing Phones or Laptops to Trump Hearing

From a New York Times story by Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs headlined “Reporters are barred from bringing phones or laptops to Trump hearing”:

A judge barred reporters from bringing cellphones or laptops into the courthouse for former President Donald J. Trump’s scheduled appearance on Tuesday, effectively limiting them to using pen and paper to document one of the highest-profile court appearances in U.S. history.

The ban was announced in a two-page administrative order issued by Cecilia M. Altonaga, the chief judge of South Florida’s federal trial courts, on the eve of Mr. Trump’s arrival at the courthouse. The order applies only to the federal courthouse in Miami and for only one day, indicating that it was tailored for the Trump proceeding.

Photographing or recording the hearing is already banned by the court’s rules. But for years, credentialed journalists covering trials and other proceedings in Miami’s federal courthouse have been allowed to use laptops and cellphones to take notes.

Judge Altonaga’s order did not include an explanation for why she thought a more stringent rule was needed in anticipation of Mr. Trump’s arrival on Tuesday afternoon, when he is set to face charges that he illegally kept sensitive documents after his presidency ended and refused to turn them over to the U.S. government.

Similar prohibitions on electronic devices are standard in some other federal courtrooms, and the rules on Tuesday will be similar to those set by a New York State judge when Mr. Trump was arraigned in Manhattan in April on separate charges that he had falsified business records.

In that case, however, the judge allowed a small group of photojournalists to take still photographs of Mr. Trump and his lawyers in the courtroom before the proceedings began. That will not be allowed on Tuesday.

Judge Altonaga has been a federal judge since 2003, when President George W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She has been the chief judge of the district for about two years. Any journalist who violates her order could face a $5,000 fine and a 30-day jail sentence.

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