Courtroom Staff, Freaked Out By FBI Agents, Failed To Record Important Terrorism Court Hearing
from the spooked dept
We just wrote about the hearing in the 7th Circuit appeals court concerning accused terrorist Adel Daoud, highlighting how Judge Richard Posner had turned it into a secret hearing, kicking everyone but DOJ officials out of the courtroom at one point. One of the reporters in the room (prior to being kicked out), Michael Tarm, had tweeted that everyone should look for the recording of the oral arguments on Thursday “if only to hear Posner” yell: “Look! You answer my questions, not your questions!”
Except, if you looked, you would never find that recording. Because it doesn’t exist. The court clerk, who’s been doing this for 25 years, says his staffers “goofed” and failed to record the hearing at all, in large part because they were so spooked by FBI agents crawling all over the court room for hidden microphones.
Though hearings before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are routinely recorded and published on the court’s website, Court Clerk Gino Agnello admitted Thursday his staff “sort of freaked out” before Wednesday’s hearing in the case of alleged wannabe South Loop bar bomber Adel Daoud.
Court staff who operate the audio recorder saw FBI agents sweep the courtroom for bugs and “misinterpreted” that to mean they shouldn’t record the hearing, Agnello said.
And, of course, because these hearings are normally recorded, there was no one there to do standard stenography. Instead, the transcript is often written up after the fact… based on the recording. Ooops. Except, you know, not “oops.” This is a pretty big screw-up, considering the importance of our supposedly “open” judicial system. Daoud’s lawyer, Thomas Durkin, properly points out that “this is what happens when people get scared,” and shows how difficult it is to have a fair trial when so much is “driven by fear-mongering.”