US judge asks Trump if he wants his federal election trial televised

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends the Trump Organization civil fraud trial, in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City

By Andrew Goudsward

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Friday asked former President Donald Trump whether he wants to appear on television when he stands trial in federal court on charges of attempting to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington asked Trump’s lawyers to give their opinion by Nov. 10 on media requests to broadcast the trial, which is scheduled to begin in March 2024.

In two separate filings, NBC News and a coalition of 19 media organizations and press advocacy groups argue that the public has a right to see an unprecedented trial of a former U.S. president who is also the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination. They argue that a federal rule barring broadcast of criminal proceedings is unconstitutional.

Prosecutors have said in court filings that they oppose the effort but have not explained why. They are due to file their argument by Nov. 3.

Trump’s lead lawyer in the case, John Lauro, previously told CNN that he personally supported televising the trial. Lauro told Reuters on Friday that Trump will respond "in accordance with the Court's Order."

It is unclear whether Trump, a former reality television star who has aggressively courted publicity in his business and political career, will want to broadcast the trial, which will come in the thick of the Republican nominating contest.

Trump has made extensive comments to TV cameras staked outside a New York state courtroom, where he is currently standing trial on civil business-fraud charges.

Federal courts, unlike many state courts, bar TV cameras and photography in courtrooms. A U.S. judicial panel on Thursday agreed to consider relaxing that broadcast ban, but said any change would not happen until after Trump stands trial in this case and a second criminal trial due to start in May over his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Proceedings in a separate criminal election-subversion case in Georgia involving Trump and more than a dozen other defendants have been televised. He also is due to stand trial in March in New York in a case stemming from a hush-money payment to a porn star.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and accused prosecutors of interfering with his 2024 presidential campaign.

(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward; editing by Andy Sullivan and Jonathan Oatis)