Media take R. Kelly appeal to Illinois Supreme Court

Published: 4/30/2008 12:11 AM

Chicago-area media outlets have taken their fight to gain greater access to the pretrial proceedings in the R. Kelly child pornography case to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Associated Press on Monday asked the Supreme Court to exercise its supervisory authority, after presiding Judge Vincent Gaughan denied on Thursday their emergency request to release transcripts of several recent closed hearings involving the judge, prosecutors and Kelly's attorneys.

Gaughan, arguing that the sealed files did not constitute an emergency, put off ruling on the motion to unseal the documents until May 8, the day before the start of the trial.

Gaughan has agreed to unseal the documents after the trial, but he has said releasing them too soon could deny Kelly the right to a fair trial.

Monday's motion asks the Supreme Court to intervene and grant immediate access to the sealed filings, transcripts and hearings in the long-running case. It also requests that the sweeping gag-order preventing attorneys from speaking to the media be lifted.

"Proceedings in the Kelly case have not only been sealed but sealed without any judicial findings with respect to the reasons for secrecy," the motion said.

On Thursday, Gaughan said sharing the rationale would reveal too much about the content of the documents.

On Tuesday, lawyers again met behind closed doors to discuss pretrial motions.

Illustrating the extraordinary nature of the case, Gaughan noted that there have been 330 media inquiries to gain access to the trial.