More seating for media outlets will be added for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, in response to concerns from journalists and activists about public access.
Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance and Chief Judge Ivy Bernhardson issued an order Monday adding seven seats to the courtroom, bumping the number set aside for media members from eight to 15. That includes six reserved for local outlets and nine for national or international outlets.
The court had refused to move the trial to a larger courtroom in the Hennepin County Government Center.
The trial courtroom, 1953, now has 37 seats, many of which are reserved: 15 total for media; four each for the families of Justine Ruszczyk Damond and Noor; one for a courtroom sketch artist and a few for others, including the Minneapolis city attorney's office.
The court tried to respond to high public interest in the case by streaming a live video and audio feed of the proceeding to a courtroom nearby.
While the overflow room will still be used during trial, advocates with the group Justice for Justine held a news conference Monday demanding more access.
Todd Schuman with Justice for Justine said audio in the overflow room was "incomprehensible" and that the video quality made it impossible to have a meaningful view of the proceedings. He asked for improved audio and visual quality.
The order did not address his concerns.