Former President Donald Trump presented himself for arrest on April 5th and pled not guilty to 34 felony charges. This was the official beginning of what could be one of the most high-profile criminal trials since the Watergate scandal.
In high-profile cases like this, security may become a serious matter. It is not unusual for high-publicity cases to lead to having the media in your face at the courthouse, at work, and at home. While the Trump trial has significantly more security than other defendants, any case that involves public or “high-profile” figures may require extra preparation by the defendant to handle the media attention.Celebrities and well-known people may face significantly more public scrutiny during criminal trials than the average defendant. While criminal trials must be matters of public record, it is still possible to take measures to protect your privacy.
If you have genuine concerns about your safety, the Court may choose to take certain measures to protect you and others during court appearances. However, you cannot rely on these measures to protect your privacy. Here’s what you need to know about preparing for a high-profile court experience.
Preparing for Attention Surrounding Your Trial
Every criminal defendant must be cautious about how much information they release to the public, especially high-profile and public figures. Details like where someone is staying, where they often spend time, or their schedules can be used by paparazzi and less well-meaning people to catch a glimpse into their daily life. As such, most public figures should keep their plans private outside of public appearances.
The problem is that court appearances are matters of public record scheduled days or weeks in advance. If you are involved in a media-worthy? case, this can lead to harassment on your way to Court at best.
While you cannot prevent media attention at public trials, you can prepare for the experience. With the help of your attorney and a prison consultant, you may be able to prepare mentally and emotionally for the process of entering and exiting the courthouse. Your consultant can coach you on how to maintain your emotions even when walking through a crowd of media professionals covering your trial.
If you are concerned about your security, matters are more complicated. In most cases, you cannot expect the Court to grant you additional security without an extensive record made by your attorney. These measures take time, effort, and money, so most courts do not offer them lightly. If you are concerned, your attorney and consultant can work with you to file a request with the Court and explain why your defense team thinks additional security is necessary. For example, your attorney should alert court personnel if you have received threats that may affect your safety during the trial. However, it is the Court’s prerogative to respond.
Things to Prepare Before Your High-Profile Court Appearances?
You may be able to request several measures during your case to reduce the risks you may face during your court appearances if you are out on bail. Some of the most common include:
- Entrance and Exit Strategies: Defendants typically enter the courthouse through the main entrance. If this becomes overwhelming due to public attention, your defendant advocate can help you mentally prepare for the demands of being at the center of a high-profile case and the media attention this may generate..
- Strict Rules for the Media: If you believe you may face significant media harassment, you can make this known to the judge and court personnel. The judge may then enforce guidelines for the behavior of journalists attending the trial. This may include strictly maintaining courtroom decorum, barring cameras from the courthouse, and ejecting any party that fails to respect these rules.
- Social Media: In some cases, there is will be a heightened need for the security role to monitor social media. The public may not be well-informed about court procedures and might post hostile comments about the Court, the parties, etc. Scanning social media for viable threats and reacting in accord will help better protect everyone involved with the case.
- Gag Orders: In particular cases, a judge may be open to issuing a gag order for your case. These orders prevent anyone involved in the trial from discussing it with the press. They are permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court as a method to control publicity before and during trials. This can help reduce public interest in your case by preventing interesting information from spreading, reducing overall media attention.
Prepare for Court Appearances With Liberty Advisors
You should expect media attention as a given if you are facing a high-profile or media-worthy trial. Tara Lenich of Liberty Advisors understands the alarming and overwhelming experience of facing media attention while facing federal criminal charges. She has first-hand experience pursuing privacy for defendants in courts. She can help you prepare for what to expect as a high-profile defendant and suggest appropriate measures when you appear in court. Learn more about how Liberty Advisors can help you by scheduling your consultation today.