Prosecutors and defense attorneys clashed Monday on proposed wording for a gag order against pretrial publicity in the reported rape at the Kennedy estate. The prosecutors claimed that the order isn't necessary or practical, while defense attorneys wanted the order to include references to news articles and even television videotapes of shows on the case.
"The intense media interest is based upon the defendant's relation to the Kennedy family," Moira Lasch, the lead prosecutor in the case, wrote to the judge along with her proposed order. "It is our opinion that this order will not result in any less publicity surrounding this case."
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Mary Lupo had given attorneys until noon Monday to submit proposals for a modified gag order. The judge said Friday the "incessant" pretrial publicity probably has already made it "extremely difficult" to seat a jury and could jeopardize the fair-trial rights of the both the state and the defendant.
William Kennedy Smith, 30-year-old nephew of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., has pleaded innocent to charges of second-degree sexual battery and misdemeanor battery. His trial is scheduled Aug. 5.
A modified order Lupo outlined Friday would bar out-of-court commentary by virtually all trial participants, from attorneys to police to potential witnesses.
Both sides' proposals agreed the order would apply to trial participants and would bar all out-of-court comments concerning the merits of the case, evidence, credibility of witnesses and related matters.