Judge grants continuance in Natalie Keepers trial

David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keepers
David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keepers (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WSLS 10) - A Montgomery County judge will issue a brief next week on whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom for the David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keepers cases.

Judge Robert Turk also approved a delay in the Keepers trial.

Both Eisenhauer and Keepers were in court, wearing their jail-issued uniforms for the hearing Monday.

John Falcone, an attorney representing WSLS 10 and other outlets as part of the Virginia Association of Broadcasters, and an attorney for the Roanoke Times argued for having cameras in the courtroom for the two cases on Monday.

Defense lawyers were opposed, saying it was "wholly unnecessary" and creates a risk. Eisenhauer's attorney John Lichtenstein argued it creates risk and could have an impact on witnesses who know their testimony will be distributed to a vast audience.

Falcone argued the media are surrogates for the public and bring public access it might not otherwise have.

"When people see how their public institutions work, I think they have more trust and confidence in them including the courts. People just don't have the opportunity to physically come into court. The broadcast media let them see what's going on in the courtroom and I think that helps give us a little more confidence in the justice system," he said.

Turk allowed a photographer to set up a camera in the courtroom in order too see how it would appear as to not be disruptive during proceedings.

The Commonwealth stated the public had a right to see the trail and is not opposed to cameras when it comes to the trial; however, prosecutors were opposed to cameras for pre-trial hearings.

Turk also agreed to a defense motion to continue Keepers' trial, previously scheduled to start later his month.

A new trial date for Keepers is expected to be set March 27 when she appears for a hearing.