U.S. Wants to Keep Public, Media Out of Terror Trial While Agents Testify


Federal prosecutors are trying to lock the press and public out of testimony by undercover FBI personnel at the trial of an Oregon man accused of plotting to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2010, reports Politico. To keep the identities of undercover agents secret, prosecutors want to close the courtroom at Mohamed Mohamud's trial while they testify. The press and public could sit in another courtroom and watch a partially-obscured video feed in which the “images” of the undercover FBI employees would not be visible.

Prosecutors also want to alter the appearance of their key witnesses—a little bit, anyway. “The [undercover employees] may testify using a light disguise, such as changing the UCEs' facial hair, hairstyle, or dress style,” prosecutors wrote in an Oct. 23 motion. “When the UCEs testify, only the Court, essential personnel, the jury, the defendant and his counsel, and the government's trial team shall be present in the courtroom.” Mohamud's lawyers have objected to the secrecy. “The measures sought by the government would convey information or impressions to the jury that undermine the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial based solely on the evidence,” attorneys Steve Sady and Steve Wax wrote.

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