Legal analyst says gag order currently under review may be necessary

POSTED: Friday, August 10, 2012 - 10:30am

UPDATED: Monday, January 21, 2013 - 11:48am

The push to learn more about the man accused in the Aurora theater massacre moved back into a Colorado courtroom Thursday.

James Holmes listened in as lawyers asked the judge to release key information in the case and ongoing investigation.

During the initial hearing the judge issued a strict gag order blocking the public release of substantial information about the investigation and evidence in the case, details that could provide a better picture of James Holmes and what happened that night.

Cameras have been barred from proceedings as well.

Lawyers representing at least 25 news organizations, including NBC News, are asking Chief District Judge William Sylvester to unseal key court documents and loosen his gag order on the case.

A motion filed by media attorneys says "the public has an obvious and legitimate interest in knowing on a timely basis the actions being taken by the government officials, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges responsible for the investigation, prosecution and trial of the defendant."

Still, prosecutors warn releasing details of search warrants, evidence, and witness interviews could jeopardize their investigation and prejudice a potential jury pool, while defense attorneys want to ensure Holmes gets a fair trial.

"The chief judge wants to make sure that this man gets a fair trial," says legal analyst Scott Robinson. "That is clearly his goal, and what he has to decide is whether a blanket sealing of all the affidavits and the register of actions is appropriate."

The judge is expected to take some time before announcing his decision about the request to release information.  

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