The top judge for the US District Court of the Southern District of Florida has ruled that journalists covering former US President Donald Trump’s arraignment in Miami on Tuesday, June 13 cannot not bring cellphones into the courtroom.
“It is ORDERED that on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, all cellular phones and/or electronic equipment are hereby prohibited for news reporters and other members of the media inside the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse in Miami,” Chief US District Judge Cecilia Altonaga wrote in her ruling on Monday.
The judge also stated that the US Marshals Service will “continue to inspect all cellular phones and other electronic equipment as they are brought into the federal courthouse facilities as directed to protect the Bench, Bar, and public from harm” and that anyone who violates the order faces up to 30 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Altonaga’s order comes after US Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman denied a request by several media groups for cameras in the courtroom for the 76-year-old former president’s arraignment on 37 felony counts stemming from his alleged mishandling of classified White House documents on Tuesday.
Judge Goodman also rejected a parallel request for release of the court’s audio feed of Tuesday’s proceedings.
Goodman argued that “allowing photographs would undermine the massive security arrangements put in place” for Trump’s Tuesday appearance in federal court.
Goodman noted in his judgement that Trump’s arraignment is “undoubtedly’special,'” “genuinely historic, and of enormous importance,” but he stated that the press coalition did not “cite any case or legal authority which would support the view that photographs” should be permitted.
He mentioned that media sources will be given special facilities, such as a spillover room with a live TV stream of Trump’s arraignment and an expedited transcript of what happened inside the courtroom.
Trump is set to enter a not guilty plea to charges including deliberate retention of national security secrets at the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. US Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
He faces a maximum of 400 years in prison if convicted on all charges.