Gagging For It
The prosecutors at Santa Barbara County are using the state Supreme Court to uphold a gag order in the Michael Jackson child molestation case.
The prosecutors noted that the Jackson case has fuelled intense public interest and is, not surprisingly, the focus of unremitting media attention. The gag order is, in their view, necessary to maintain an untainted pool of potential jurors.
It is understood that DA Tom Sneddon filed a letter on Thursday, noting that speculation one day soon becomes reported as fact.
News organisations around the world have been clamouring to have the gag order, which prevents anyone associated with the case from talking about it, lifted.
The Supreme Court has requested that all pertinent submissions be made to it by Friday. It will then have to exercise the "judgement of Solomon".
The use of such a gag order in the USA is, by all accounts, unusual. It seems that, according to the lawyer representing the news organisations (Theodore Boutrous), it is a violation of the first Amendment.
I feel that given the intense media interest in the case, and the push button nature of news flow, whether there is gag order or not; there will be leaks and speculation, outwith the control of either the prosecution or defence.