Donald Trump might be the star of a new TV special soon: his upcoming D.C. trial.
NBCUniversal News Group filed a 43-page motion on Wednesday hoping to televise USA v Trump, the first criminal trial of a U.S. president.
“The American public has an extraordinary interest in seeing and hearing this trial of former President Trump,” the corporation’s legal team, fronted by Theodore Boutrous Jr., wrote in its application. “If ever a trial were to be televised, this one should be, for the benefit of American democracy.”
Trump faces four felony counts in D.C. for his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results: two charges related to the disruption of Congress’s certification of the electoral vote on January 6, 2021; another for attempting to thwart the tallying of votes; and a fourth for conspiracy to deprive U.S. citizens of their right to vote.
In a request filed to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, NBC asked to broadcast the trial with audio and video, either with a slight delay by press pool or live using the court’s own equipment.
The effort faces an uphill battle—electronic media coverage of criminal cases has been prohibited in federal courts for the better part of the last century. So far, video access hasn’t been allowed during any of Trump’s pretrial hearings in the case, though an overflow courtroom with a video feed has been set up for reporters.
“No compelling or substantial government interest supports restricting public access to a minuscule number of reporters and a handful of members of the public who can physically access the courtroom in Washington, D.C. to see and hear what happens,” the NBCU legal team wrote.
NBCU’s latest filing isn’t the only attempt to bring cameras into the courtroom, however. Earlier this month, a media coalition including C-SPAN, CBS News, ABC News, and CNN filed a joint application to televise the proceedings. That bid included a request to the Judicial Conference, which drafts the rules and regulations binding federal courts.
Judge Chutkan has scheduled March 4, 2024, as the start date for Trump’s trial—right before Super Tuesday.