Judge Issues Gag Order in Derrick Rose Case

           LOS ANGELES (CN) – A federal judge on Friday granted NBA star Derrick Rose’s motion for a gag order during his civil rape trial after telling attorneys on both sides that he is “fed up” with their attempts to spin the case to the media.
     U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald granted Rose’s motion for a limited restraining order after issuing a temporary gag the day before.
     The judge said he was issuing a “narrow, minimally restrictive order that balances the parties and counsel’s First Amendment rights with the competing Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial.”
     The order will not prevent the attorneys from talking to the press. Instead, Fitzgerald tailored the order to prevent the legal teams from talking about the “character, credibility, or reputation of a party,” the respective strengths and weaknesses of each parties’ case, and inadmissible evidence. The order also prevents Rose’s team from disclosing Jane Doe’s real name.
     “The recent flurry of publicity this case has received threatens to create a ‘circus-like environment’ that would deprive both plaintiff and defendants of their rights to a fair trial,” Fitzgerald wrote in an 11-page order. “Should counsel for either side continue to discuss matters with the press, their actions would pose a clear and present danger to the parties’ Seventh Amendment rights.”
     On Thursday, the 30-year old California woman who accused the New York Knicks basketball star of raping her with two other men at her downtown apartment in August 2013 failed to keep her real name out of the trial after Judge Fitzgerald kept in place an earlier ruling.
     “This is not a state secrets case,” Fitzgerald said at the morning hearing on the 16th floor of the downtown federal court. The judge said he did not have the “constitutional authority” to keep her name secret and that it’s unrealistic to expect witnesses not to use her name at trial.
     During the first hour of the hearing, Fitzgerald had some choice words for attorneys on both sides as he considered whether to grant Rose’s motion to prevent the attorneys from talking to the media until the trial ends.
     The judge was particularly irked by a declaration that attorney Brandon Anand had submitted to the court in support of the woman’s motion to keep her anonymity.
     Anand’s declaration had an attached letter from the LAPD confirming a criminal investigation of Rose. Though the filing was initially available on the court’s public docket, by Tuesday it had been removed.
     Calling the move “borderline unethical,” Fitzgerald said it was “calculated” to win a settlement.
     But the woman’s attorney, Waukeen McCoy, denied that his client wanted to avoid a trial to settle her reported $21.5 million demand.
     “We don’t care about a settlement in this case. We want justice,” McCoy said.
     Rose has an outlet to talk to the media about the case through news conferences he gives as a player, McCoy said, and Rose’s attorneys have used court filings to talk to the press and influence public opinion with irrelevant facts.
     He urged the judge to level the playing field by allowing the woman’s attorneys to talk to the press and explain the intricacies of proceedings during trial.
     But Rose’s attorney Mark Baute urged Fitzgerald to grant the gag order. He told the judge: “I have never seen a media blitz like this in my career.”
     Though Fitzgerald granted the motion, he was not happy when Baute thanked him after concluding his argument.
     “I am really fed up with both of you,” the judge said.
     The courtroom was sealed so the parties could discuss Rose’s motion to admit evidence of the women’s behavior and sexual history. Fitzgerald later opened the courtroom and said he would take the motion under submission.
     The trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 4.

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