State of play: Georgia law requires that cameras be allowed during judicial proceedings with a judge’s approval. Cameras are seen as an important aspect of transparency.
✱ A judge would need a compelling reason — such as a juvenile victim or witness — to bar them, per Atlanta News First. Neither are likely to apply.
✱ Under Georgia’s rules, the public could be able to watch Trump’s potential arraignment — as well as an entire potential criminal trial, per NBC News.
✱ That’s not been the case in federal and New York courts, where Trump’s other indictments have taken place.
“Georgia courts traditionally have allowed the media and the public in so that everyone can scrutinize how our process actually works,” said local attorney Josh Schiffer. “Unlike a lot of states with very strict rules, courts in Georgia are going to basically leave it up to the judges.”
Because no charging announcements have been made, it’s unclear how the Fulton County Courthouse or District Attorney Fani Willis would handle cameras at the possible proceedings. But Schiffer expects full media access.
“When you have independent monitors – that being the public, the press, academics – watching our process actually function, not necessarily the way it was written about in the books but how it really works, only by having that transparency can good complaints rise to the top and be dealt with,” he said. “And it’s all in an effort to make the process work better to produce justice.”
Georgia has allowed cameras in courtrooms since the 1980s. Former DeKalb County prosecutor J. Tom Morgan tried the first ever case to be televised on camera, and says it’s an important element of transparency.
Under the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure, federal courts do not generally allow video cameras during criminal cases. Many state courts do, but New York’s laws around filming trials are among the most restrictive in the nation, allowing recording only in very limited circumstances. Legal experts expect that those three trials are unlikely to be televised.
Georgia, on the other hand, offers strong protections for open courts. Members of the media who submit requests to record proceedings are generally allowed to do so. If a judge intends to deny a request, they must promptly hold a hearing on the matter, according to Georgia’s Uniform Superior Court Rule 22.