US judge denies media access to Chicago gang trial evidence

CHICAGO (AP) — A U.S. judge in the racketeering trial of six purported Hobos street-gang leaders has refused media access to photographs and other evidence even after it’s shown in open court to jurors.

Judge John Tharp Jr. ruling denies a Chicago Tribune request to release exhibits once they’re entered into evidence. Some evidence includes photos of victims allegedly killed by the gang.

Tharp has ordered jurors not to follow any media coverage of the case. But he says in his ruling posted last week that he fears jurors wouldn’t be able to avert their eyes from sensational, front-page treatment of evidence and that that could undermine defendants’ fair-trial rights.

The Tribune argued there’s a strong presumption in favor of granting access because reporters are “the eyes and the ears of the public.”