BOISE, Idaho - The attorney representing a man accused of killing four University of Idaho students says her client is on trial for his life and has a right to fight a media challenge to a gag order in his case.
Public Defender Anne Taylor filed a motion with the Idaho Supreme Court, requesting to be heard in any arguments over the media's request to amend or dismiss the gag order.
The man prosecuting Bryan Kohberger, Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson, also filed a motion saying the state would like to be heard on this issue.
A large contingent of media organizations, including KXLY, are challenging a gag order in the case, saying it is overbroad and violates the involved parties First Amendment rights by not allowing them to give any information about the case outside of the courtroom.
The Idaho Supreme Court has set a briefing schedule in the case and interested parties have until March 3rd to file motions to be heard.
Public Defender Anne Taylor cites the viral headlines of the story as one of the reasons for the need to have the gag order in place.
In her filing, she writes, "Mr. Kohberger's life depends on this system remaining intact," citing the fact that he could face the death penalty. "He must be permitted to fight for it if this Court decides to consider the media's petition."
"In the short time before the [original gag order] was entered Mr. Kohberger’s attorneys became known to the press and their office was immediately besieged by reporters," her office writes. "Members took pictures of employees through windows, entered the office office and refused to leave without meeting with attorneys, and regularly called the office on the same line necessary for its clients to reach their attorneys."
She said that behavior has slowed drastically since the gag order was in place.
Prosecutor William Thompson also wrote in support of his office being heard by the Supreme Court on this matter, saying the state would be impacted by the outcome of the Court's decision.
"As a party to the underlying criminal case, the State of Idaho has an interest in preserving the right to a fair and impartial jury trial for both the State and Defendant," Thompson wrote.
Kohberger is being held in the Latah County Jail in Moscow.
His preliminary hearing, in which a judge determines if there's enough evidence to go to trial, is scheduled for June.
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Melissa Luck is the Executive News Director at 4 News Now. Melissa joined the 4 News Now in 2002 as a General Assignment Reporter. She’s worked as an anchor and manager, but reporting is her passion. She’s been fortunate to cover every type of story, from the Seahawks first trip to the Super Bowl in 2006 to a polygamous cult in British Columbia. Her work has been honored with Emmy nominations and Edward R. Murrow Awards. She’s most proud, though, of the journalists she’s mentored over the years. Melissa is a second-generation journalist; her dad was a TV sportscaster and reporter for his entire career and she made her local news debut in Milwaukee just hours after she was born. She grew up in Great Falls, Montana and graduated from Marquette University. After internships in Milwaukee and Washington, DC, Melissa began her reporting career at KNDU-TV in Kennewick. She’s completed broadcast and leadership training through the Poynter Institute, National Association of Broadcasters and the Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible TV Journalism. She represents the Northwest on the board of the Radio Television Digital News Association. She also serves on the board of Spokane-based non-profit Project Beauty Share, which provides hygiene and beauty products to non-profit organizations that serve women and families overcoming poverty, abuse and addiction. Melissa is a die-hard Marquette basketball fan, an avid WSU Cougar football fan and a voracious reader. She loves Spokane parks and Washington wine. She’s married to 4 News Now Good Morning Northwest anchor Derek Deis. They have two sons, Dylan and Daniel.