Judge to allow journalists’ cameras in courtroom for opioid trial

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Judge Thad Balkman has decided to allow journalists to bring cameras into the courtroom for the state’s trial against opioid manufacturers.

Judge Balkman is the Cleveland County District Judge where the trials are scheduled to take place in May 2019.

Attorney General Mike Hunter released a statement this afternoon commending Judge Balkman about this decision:

“Judge Balkman’s decision will bring transparency, accountability and clarity to this trial and I applaud his decision,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Allowing cameras in the courtroom will give Oklahomans across the state and individuals from across the country a firsthand account of the proceedings. It will also allow individuals to see how these companies maliciously deceived the nation while creating the deadliest man-made epidemic in United States history.”

Judge Balkman’s order says he might limit such use to protect privacy, for example when a witness may testify on sensitive medical information.

The order also appoints Oklahoma City attorney Bob Burke to work with the parties to recommend further rules to preserve the dignity of the court.