Keeping the hearing closed will also protect the girl, who has maintained her anonymity through the proceedings, Fitzsimmons said.
The AP generally doesn’t identity people who say they are the victims of sexual assault.
Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office is prosecuting the case, says it will be difficult enough for the girl to testify, let alone in a public hearing open to the media.
News organizations arguing to keep the hearing open say the case is already subject to speculation that it won’t be fully investigated and prosecuted because it involves the city’s popular football team. Keeping it open eliminates that speculation, according to arguments by the AP, ABC, CNN, CBS News, The New York Times and WEWS-TV.
The lawyer for Richmond wants the trial closed out of concern that intense publicity and social media commentary could lead to witness intimidation. The attorney, Walter Madison, cited threats he said were made by the hacker-activist group Anonymous to retaliate against people perceived as helping his client.
The other defendant has asked that the case be delayed and moved but not closed.