Attorneys for the 21 Arizona National Guard members accused in a pay-falsifying scandal argued this week against allowing media to photograph future court proceedings.
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Defense attorney Walter Nash, who represents accused airman Gilbert Delgado, said his client and other defendants face the risk of physical harm if their images appear in news publications.
“This is a unique case,” Nash argued in the courtroom of Pima County Superior Court Judge Javier Chon-Lopez earlier this week.
Nash said his client, and other defendants accused in the case, work in the U.S. military’s unmanned aircraft systems program piloting drone aircraft used in conflict zones across the world.
The use of the drone aircraft to bomb targets and kill terrorists and other designated enemies has drawn criticisms at home and abroad.
Nash said his client and other defendants have been the target of protests at their workplaces. Because of this, he argued, media should not be allowed to film or photograph the court proceedings.
None of the guardsmen’s attorneys argued to have court proceedings closed to the public.
Judge Chon-Lopez ruled to exclude photography from a Nov. 25 hearing. He did not rule on media coverage for other upcoming case events.
If attorneys for the 21 accused service members have their way, however, no Pima County Superior Court judge will rule on any case matters.
The defense attorneys have filed motions in U.S. District Court in Tucson to have the case tried under federal jurisdiction.
If the case does move to federal court, the attorneys’ concerns over photographs of their clients would be resolved. That's because federal courts rarely allow photography in the courtroom.