JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio —
Attorneys gathered in Jefferson County Juvenile Court on Friday to address issues surrounding the upcoming trial of two Steubenville High School student-athletes charged with rape.
Regarding whether to keep the trial open or closed to the public, the only written motion that was ever entered for a motion for closure was filed by defense attorney Walter Madison — and he withdrew that motion today.
Prosecutors from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office didn’t file a written response, but said in open court they would like the trial closed to the public and the media. Prosecutors said their position since the original probable cause hearing has changed, and they want the trial closed.
Judge Thomas Lipps also listened to attorneys representing different media outlets who argued why they feel they trial should be open to the public.
Attorney Justin Wiater with Fitzsimmons Law Firm is representing the teenage girl who is the alleged victim on a civil basis. Wiater said he asked the judge to allow them to file a motion if necessary to argue their point to close the trial. However, he said he didn’t know if he had standing to file that motion.
The judge is expected to make a ruling next week about whether to keep the trial open or closed to the public.
Both defense attorneys also motioned for a change of venue. The defendants’ attorneys argued that threats to witnesses are their main concern about changing the location of the trial.
Defense attorney Adam Nemann said that he would prefer a court with more law enforcement presence in addition to several entryways for witnesses to enter without fear of protesters wearing masks and threatening them.
Madison also brought up threats made to the sheriff, police chief and the school in his argument to change the trial’s location.
Both of the defendants’ attorneys also filed motions to continue the trial, arguing that they continue to receive new information that would be admissible in court.
State prosecutors argued that the information being brought up currently would not change the facts in the case.
Looks like Madison is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame.
- Threats to Sheriff Abdalla- Absolutely nothing to do with the trial. Its a separate thing all together.
- School lock-downs have proven to be false threats and hysteria by Steubenville residents
- FACT: No “masked protesters” have threatened anyone. It’s kids (from Steubenville) causing hysteria.