Judge to rule on media access to gang trial evidence


CHICAGO (AP) _ A federal judge is considering the Chicago Tribune’s request to grant media access to photographs and other exhibits once they’re entered into evidence at the trial of six purported Hobos street-gang leaders.

Judge John Tharp Jr. said during oral arguments on the issue Mnday that he will rule later. But he said the media don’t have “an absolute right” to such exhibits.

Tribune lawyer Kristen Rodriguez argued there’s a strong presumption toward granting access to evidence already unsealed in court because reporters are “the eyes and the ears of the public.”

Tharp has ordered jurors not to follow media reports about the trial. But defense attorney Molly Armour argued jurors wouldn’t be able to avert their eyes from sensational, front-page photos. And she says that could unfairly turn jurors against the defendants.