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Gag Order Issued in Iverson Case

July 22, 2002

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A judge issued a gag order in Allen Iverson’s assault case Monday, saying he wanted to ``buffer″ prosecutors and defense attorneys from intense media coverage.

Municipal Court Judge James DeLeon barred police, the district attorney’s office, and the lawyers involved from talking to reporters about Iverson’s criminal case. He said he would revisit his decision after Iverson’s preliminary hearing, scheduled for July 29.

``We are putting a bubble over the proceeding, so that between now and the time of the preliminary hearing, the commonwealth and the defense will have the opportunity to prepare their case without any type of problem, as far as publicity is concerned,″ DeLeon said.

A reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer protested, arguing the paper’s lawyer should have a chance to appeal before the gag order was enforced. DeLeon denied the request.

The preliminary hearing for Iverson was scheduled to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to try the Philadelphia 76ers’ guard is accused of storming into a cousin’s apartment with a gun and threatening two men while looking for his wife.

Iverson was not required to be in court Monday and did not attend.

Iverson was arrested last week on 14 felony and misdemeanor charges, including assault, terroristic threats and weapons offenses. Iverson’s uncle, who allegedly accompanied him, was also charged.

Iverson has been the subject of intense local media scrutiny since the allegations surfaced nearly three weeks ago. Hordes of reporters and photographers camped outside Iverson’s suburban mansion in the days before he turned himself in to face the charges.

DeLeon told reporters took it upon himself to issue the gag order; it was not requested by prosecutors or defense attorneys.

Most of the details of the prosecution’s case against Iverson have already been released in court documents. Iverson’s lawyers have consistently refused to comment, other than saying Iverson will plead innocent.

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