George Huguely (Daily Progress)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WUSA) -- The judge overseeing the George Huguely murder trial has denied a motion by media outlets to be able to see photos and videotaped evidence.
When prosecutors played Huguely's videotaped statement on Friday, reporters and members of the public could hear his voice, but were unable to see the video, unable to see his eyes or read his body language.
Judge Edward Hogshire said he was sympathetic to the issue, but that media outlets, including 9News Now, should have raised the issue long ago. He said he was unwilling to delay the trial to deal with the technical issues.
Judge Hogshire joked that Thomas Jefferson may be to blame for the courtroom set up. President Jefferson's Monticello home is nearby and he designed some of the oldest buildings in Charlottesville.
The courtroom has an unusual set up. The jurors actually sit with their backs to the judge, facing out toward the audience. Photos and videotaped evidence is played on a television monitor right in front of the jury. All the public and reporters can see is the back of the tv.
Lawyer Robert Yates, III, who represents the media outlets, suggested the judge ask technicians to set up another television monitor facing out toward the audience. He suggested that could easily be done during the lunch break.
Prosecutor Dave Chapman strongly objected, saying the there is no statute nor right that says media and the public must be allowed to see all the evidence. He says the "finders of fact" -- the judge or the jury -- are the only people the law says have to see the evidence.
The media outlets are planning an appeal.
Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com