Cell phones and all other former of technology have been banned from the federal courthouse in Miami where former President Donald Trump will be arraigned Tuesday on a 37-count indictment that claims he mishandled classified information.
Trump, who has defended his actions and said he did nothing wrong, will be arraigned at 3 p.m.
In advance of the unprecedented event of a former president being arraigned in federal court, Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, chief judge for the Southern District of Florida, issued a Monday order banning electronics. The order cited previous rules in place to limit the use of electronic and filming devices in court buildings.
Her order said that “on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, all cellular phones and/or electronic equipment are hereby prohibited for news reporters and other members of the media inside the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse in Miami.”
Her order further stated that the “United States Marshals Service is to continue to inspect all cellular phones and other electronic equipment as they are brought into the federal courthouse facilities as directed to protect the Bench, Bar, and public from harm,” and noted that disobedience could result in a contempt of court charge with a fine or jail sentence.
The order drew a reaction, with Scott MacFarlane of CBS posting “WOW” on Twitter, later adding, “This historic American moment will largely (if not fully) be invisible to America.”
One Twitter poster wondered if there was a hidden reason behind the ban, asking “Is this how they hope to keep a lid on anything that is beneficial to President Donald Trump’s case?”
Goodman said a media request for an exemption to standing rules barring cameras missed the mark, because the rules only allow exceptions related to naturalization ceremonies.
“Tomorrow’s proceedings are undoubtedly ‘special’ in that they are genuinely historic and of huge importance, but they are not in any way similar to a naturalization proceeding. The motion does not cite any case or legal authority which would support the view that photographs are permitted tomorrow because the first appearance and arraignment are ‘special proceedings,’ as that term is used in the rule,” he wrote.
“Moreover, allowing photographs would undermine the massive security arrangements put in place,” Goodman wrote.
Goodman further wrote that he was “not convinced that immediate disclosure of the audio is warranted. Tomorrow’s proceedings will be public. News media representatives and ordinary citizens will be permitted to attend the hearing in person on a first-come, first-serve basis.”
“Moreover, because the Undersigned anticipates that there will not be enough in-court seats to accommodate everyone who would like to be present in the courtroom, the Undersigned has arranged, with the help of the Clerk of the Court, to have a live video feed broadcast into a spillover room. Therefore, those wishing to see and hear the proceedings unfold live will have the opportunity to do that,” he wrote.
Goodman wrote that he had arranged for an official transcript to be available on Tuesday.