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Why we can't hear or see what's going on inside Trump courtroom

Former President Donald Trump's ongoing civil trial in New York is piquing viewers' interest, but there's a reason we can't have cameras inside.
Why we can't hear or see what's going on inside Trump courtroom
Posted at 1:13 PM, Dec 08, 2023

We here at Scripps News take time each week to respond to some of the calls you've placed to our Viewer Hotline, and judging from what we've heard, the upcoming presidential election is top of mind. Particularly, former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial in New York.

Hannah from Montana said: "I'm calling to ask why in all of your news information about Donald Trump's trial yesterday, you didn't provide any soundbites from within the courtroom. I think it would be very important for viewers to hear and see the things he says and his behavior firsthand, rather than for you to just report it."

We agree. Seeing and hearing excerpts from inside the courtroom would enhance our coverage. There's just one catch: New York has a strict law banning the recording of court proceedings in the state, with the judge only allowing a handful of photographers to capture images inside.

All news organizations are operating under the same restrictions. However, reporters in the courtroom — including Scripps News' Alex Miller and Axel Turcios — are allowed to take notes. Acting as our eyes and ears inside the room, they're taking notes and are able to come out and tell us what they saw and heard. 

SEE MORE: Appeals court reinstates gag order on Trump in civil fraud case

While Trump did not make an appearance at the fourth Republican presidential debate earlier this week, even that also made headlines. We reported on the candidates and what they said, providing critical context and analysis of the night's biggest moments. But some of you expressed disappointment that we haven't aired the GOP debate in full here on Scripps News.

One anonymous caller said: "Why do you not air the Republican debates on your network? ... People should be able to watch it on your network and nobody shows it anymore. Local stations don't show it."

Unfortunately, that's because we can't. Contractually, only official media partners — selected by the Republican National Committee — are allowed to air the debates in their entirety.

SEE MORE: GOP presidential hopefuls clash in heated 4th debate

It's a highly competitive process, with cable network NewsNation granted exclusive rights to air this week's event. The rest of us can only replay small portions of the debate as part of our news coverage, and that's after it has already aired live elsewhere. Nevertheless, we pride ourselves in providing thorough, fair and accurate political coverage on the issues that truly matter to you. That's why your calls and messages on social media are so important to us.

Continue to let us know how we're doing — good or bad — anytime on our toll-free Scripps News Viewer Hotline at 1-833-4-SCRIPPS to lend your voice to the conversation. You can also find all of our reporting at our website

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