A Hennepin County judge is making evidence in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor available for public viewing starting Friday.
The notice from Judge Kathryn Quaintance's court stipulated that journalists and members of the public can examine 300 trial exhibits, including dashcam and bodycam footage as well as autopsy photos of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. May 24. Evidence will be on display in a conference room on the 12th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center. Laptops and headphones will be provided for audiovisual exhibits.
The decision came with no further explanation — even as a motion from a coalition of Minnesota media outlets to copy evidence from the trial remains pending.
Media attorney Leita Walker filed that motion Thursday in response to a Hennepin County prosecutor's efforts to block the public from viewing evidence in the high-profile murder trial.
Walker argued that it is imperative for the public to be able to copy the evidence in order to fully understand and accurately report on it.
Under the prosecutor's proposal, "every time a journalist, whether sitting in the Twin Cities or Australia, doubted the accuracy of something in her notes — or any time a new story idea emerged, requiring a fresh review of the evidence — she would have to schedule another appointment to review the exhibits and take another trip to the courthouse," wrote Walker, which would "delay the dissemination of important information to the public."
On Monday, Quaintance ordered that evidence would be made public "within a reasonable time frame" and that arrangements to view copies of exhibits must be scheduled through the court.
The Star Tribune attempted to schedule an appointment earlier this week but never heard back.
Quaintance has yet to decide whether the data can be copied, photographed or videotaped.