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Judge announces gag order in Freddie Gray case

Judge announces gag order in Freddie Gray case

The judge in the case against six police officers charged in Freddie Gray's arrest and death has banned prosecutors and the officers' defense attorneys from discussing the case with anyone outside their own legal teams.

Circuit Judge Barry Williams gave the order at the end of Tuesday's hearings, telling the attorneys, "Do not discuss my rulings, do not discuss this case."

A spokeswoman for the court said Williams' warning from the bench constituted a gag order, and an official order would be filed in the court as soon as possible.

"He has to edit it and make sure the order is correct," said the spokeswoman, Terri Charles.

Given that the hearings concluded after 4:30 p.m., when the court clerk's office closes for the day, the written order would likely not be available until Wednesday, Charles said.

Prosecutors in Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby's office had filed a motion requesting a gag order in the case. That request was denied on procedural grounds by Judge Charles J. Peters in June, before the case was assigned to Williams.

At the time, 19 media outlets, including The Baltimore Sun, had filed a joint motion opposing the gag order.

Mosby's office has also asked unsuccessfully for protective orders over evidence in the case.

Defense attorneys opposed those efforts but have raised their own concerns about how much information has been made public in the case. They have argued that media coverage of the case has tainted the local jury pool and asked that the trials be moved out of Baltimore. Williams has twice denied the request.

Williams has said the only way to know whether city jurors can be fair is to ask potential jurors during the jury selection process.

Gray, 25, suffered a severe spinal cord injury in police custody on April 12. His death April 19 sparked protests against police brutality. His funeral on April 27 was followed by rioting, looting and arson.

Mosby announced charges against the six officers May 1, and they were later indicted by a grand jury.

Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the police transport van, is charged with second-degree murder. Sgt. Alicia D. White, Lt. Brian W. Rice and Officer William G. Porter are charged with manslaughter. Officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller face lesser charges, including second-degree assault. All six have been charged with misconduct.

All have pleaded not guilty to all charges. They have been free on bail.

Porter's trial is scheduled first, on Nov. 30. Goodson's trial is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 6, White's for Jan. 25, Miller's for Feb. 9, Nero's for Feb. 22 and Rice's for March 9.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

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