’48 Hours’ denied audio access to athlete’s rape trial
ARKANSAS–A circuit court judge in Fayetteville ruled in mid-March that a CBS news show cannot record the audio portion of a college football player’s trial on charges of attempted rape, claiming the coverage could violate the alleged victim’s privacy and lengthen the trial.
CBS requested a full feed of the trial of University of Arkansas football player DeAnthony Hall for a segment on its news program “48 Hours,” according to Cathy Lasiewicz, executive producer of the show. The show wanted to examine the difficulty of prosecuting athletes accused of sexual assault.
Washington County Circuit Judge William Storey told CBS they could shoot video from a glass booth behind the jury, but he refused to allow the network to record the sound at the trial, which is set to begin in mid-April.
Lasiewicz said CBS has taken no further action to appeal the ruling and has yet to decide if they will record the soundless video as offered.
“We’re still in the research phase. It’s early in the process, and we haven’t decided if we’re going to continue with the story,” Lasiewicz said.
Hall was charged in connection with an early December incident involving an 18-year-old woman at the Fayetteville campus athletic dormitory. Five other University of Arkansas football players were disciplined by the school but not charged.
Storey told the Associated Press that full coverage of the trial would lengthen the time it takes to try the case. “It detracts form the dignity of the proceeding. People become more interested in playing to the television cameras than trying the case. We don’t have months on end to try these cases.”
Hall’s attorney, Jim Rose III, told AP he had no objection to the television coverage but also supports the judge’s decision. “From what we know, that’s just the way he is,” Lasiewicz said about Storey. “He allows video but doesn’t allow audio. That’s not unusual for him.” (Arkansas v. Hall)