Can’t Televise the Trial? Use Puppets!

This is simply fabulous.

Among the most interesting and, perhaps, entertaining aspects of the corruption trial of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner and County Democratic Party boss Jimmy Dimora, is its treatment by the media.

By far, most of the Cleveland-based news organizations following the trial — The Plain Dealer, all four television stations, and some radio stations — follow as any spectator would: inside the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi at the Seiberling Federal Building in Akron.

Lioi has adopted the anti-Judge Ito (my term, in honor of O.J. Simpson presiding criminal trial Judge Lance Itoview of managing the reporters covering the People v Jimmy Dimora.  An excellent aggregation of the Plain Dealer’s coverage of the case can be found here.  This includes the time-honored federal court restriction against microphones and cameras in the courtroom. Reporters take notes then share what transpired during breaks in the testimony, which at times has been lurid. Testimony includes wiretapped phone conversations and video that includes now-famous trips to Las Vegas for gambling binges allegedly underwritten by a contractor as well as engagements with prostitutes.

The ban on electronic media in federal court isn’t new, but what’s unusual how one local station, Raycom’sWOIO-TV, decided to handle its presentation.

19ActionNews decided against a courtroom artist and the ethically dubious use of actors to re-create testimony. Instead, WOIO opted for the Puppet Trial.

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