Originally created 10/24/06

Nichols' attorneys ask that trial not be on TV



ATLANTA - Citing the "growing media frenzy" surrounding his case, attorneys representing a man accused of shooting to death a judge, his clerk, a sheriff's deputy and a federal law enforcement officer are arguing against television cameras in the courtroom during his murder trial.

Brian Nichols' attorneys say allowing television cameras to cover the proceedings could intimidate witnesses and taint their testimony, and could prevent Mr. Nichols from receiving a fair trial by an impartial jury.

In the eight-page document filed late Friday, Mr. Nichols' attorneys said they are not asking for a closed trial, but want to "limit and hopefully contain the ongoing damage" and the "circus-like atmosphere" they said surrounds the case.

"The issue is not whether the circus exists, but rather whether the Court will even take the minimal step of prohibiting in-court, gavel-to-gavel broadcast coverage in an effort to quiet the surging media frenzy surrounding this trial," the motion read. "This Court's failure to exert at least some control over the coverage of these proceedings will likely result in a trial that deprives Mr. Nichols of his right to a fair and impartial jury."

Mr. Nichols was being retried on rape charges in March 2005 when he fatally shot a judge, a court reporter and a sheriff's deputy who chased him outside the courthouse, authorities say. He's also accused of committing several carjackings and assaults.