He concluded by saying that he was concerned at the defense's ability at having a fair trial and put a request on record for a change of venue for the trial.
Gerald Evelyn, a defense lawyer for Bobby Ferguson, joined Mr. Thomas on record in requesting a change of venue. Ferguson asked the court "to take direct action."
Evelyn stated his concern that jurors would be worried about the consequences to giving a guilty verdict.
"These jurors have to be concerned about consequences for them and their families," said Mr. Evelyn. "If I vote for Bobby Ferguson, they are going to kick my door down."
Evelyn pointed to race saying, "I'm mindful of the fact there was an African-American woman who was a centerpiece of the investigation."- a reference to the holdout juror from the article.
John Shea, lawyer for Bernard Kilpatrick, did not address the court except to join his colleagues in their concerns. John Minock, one of Victor Mercado's lawyers, said of the media "I'm a fan of the 1st amendment, I like the press. Unfortunately, stories don't always capture what really happened."
U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow told the court that they weren't prepared to respond fully to the change of venue request as it was the first they had heard of it but that he felt it was premature.
Judge Edmunds invited Herschel Fink, lawyer for the Free Press, and James Stewart, lawyer for the Detroit News, to address the court.
"What I've heard from lawyers is posturing and half-truths," said Mr. Fink.
Mr. Fink also pointed out that Kwame Kilpatrick had voluntarily exposed himself to media coverage when he spoke at the National Association of Black Journalists in August and in doing his book tour. He also felt that the Free Press "is very conscious of the potential effect of coverage" and that he thought "the paper has been very responsible."
Mr. Stewart of the Detroit News said, "This notion of juror intimidation is speculation and not based on anything that has happened in this jurisdiction."
Regarding the reader comments, he said that they are reviewed at the highest level but it sometimes takes time to take them down. He also stressed that "the Detroit News wants a fair case."
While agreeing that the media hadn't done the best job of self-censoring, Judge Edmunds stated that she found it premature to have a change of venue motion but "that she was mindful of jurors being impacted."
"I have done the best I can to protect privacy without trampling on the 1st Amendment," said Judge Edmunds.
Edmunds invited the media to self-edit more of what is published and said she would do additional juror voir dire. She also told defense that she would look at their motions carefully if they choose to file for change of venue.
The final stages of jury selection are currently under way.
About the author:
Alexandra Harland is a Princeton undergrad and has a masters degree in International affairs with Columbia. A Montreal native, she worked with the Daily Telegraph newspaper for a few years before transitioning to TV, when she worked at ABC News with Peter Jennings. Alexandra has also worked in newsrooms in both Detroit and Boston.