ACLU asks appeals court to return Chauvin trial credentials to Daily Mail

A judge had revoked its credentials because it had published what was described as "stolen" video.
chauvin courtroom

The American Civil Liberties Union-Minnesota has made a request to the Court of Appeals to have the Daily Mail's media credentials reinstated at the Derek Chauvin trial.

The U.K.-based conservative newspaper had its media credentials revoked last month, with the publication denied access to the media center set up across the street from the courthouse where Chauvin is being tried, as well as access to trial exhibits and "all media updates related to the trial."

The reason for this, District Judge Toddrick Barnette ruled, was that the Mail in August published footage of body camera video taken from now-former officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who have been charged with aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd.

The videos were admitted as part of evidence in Lane's motion to dismiss the charges against him, and as a result became public documents. But because the case was already so highly publicized and the court has a duty to protect the defendants against excessive pretrial publicity, the court initially allowed the public and press to view the body camera video in person by appointment, but they weren't allowed to record it or retransmit it.

Barnette's order said that this footage was "stolen" and said it had "not been proven to the Court whether the Daily Mail did or did not play a role in the theft of the footage."

The ACLU-MN however says that this footage was "leaked" to the newspaper by a third-party, with the Mail then publishing a story with the video.

"There’s no evidence showing the Daily Mail played any role in copying the video, nor did the company violate any law or court order to obtain it," the ACLU said in a press release.

The ACLU has written to the Minnesota Court of Appeals to ask for a quick decision to grant the Daily Mail its media credentials before much more of the Chauvin trial can elapse, citing the Freedom of the Press protections afforded by the First Amendment in its reasoning.

“The issues in this case affect interests extending far beyond the individual parties in this case,” the latter says. “A decision in this case will affect other individuals and entities who seek to cover trial proceedings throughout the State of Minnesota."

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