Court TV to Cover Bribery Trial

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Courtroom Television Network said Wednesday that it plans to cover the
upcoming bribery trial of a Brooklyn judge accused of demanding that a lawyer
pay him in return for the settlement of a civil case.

The legal network gained the right to bring cameras into the New York court
when State Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Colabella, the presiding judge in the
matter, ruled that a 50-year-old statute barring cameras is
unconstitutional.

In the case, Brooklyn Judge Victor Barron allegedly demanded that an attorney
pay a $250,000 bribe in return for his approval of a $5 million settlement in a
civil suit.

'Judge Colabella felt that it was a case that really deserved openness . to
ensure public trust and confidence in the judicial system,' a spokesman for the
Office of Court Administration said in an interview.

The decision is reminiscent of a similar decision made by Albany Judge Joseph
Teresi in the trial of the four police officers accused of the 1999 murder of
Amadou Diallo. In that trial, cameras were allowed.

'The public has a constitutional right to see its own judicial system in
action, and Judge Colabella should be commended for insisting on that right,'
Court TV chairman and CEO Henry Schleiff said in a prepared statement.

'Indeed, in a case like this one that goes directly to the public's
confidence in our judicial system, the judge's ruling reminds us of former U.S.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis' remark that `sunshine is the best
disinfectant,'' he added.

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