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Attorney Takes Camera Issue to President

April 6, 1996

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A lawyer battling for closed circuit television coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing trial took her case to President Clinton Friday _ and recorded his response with the help of a TV news crew.

``I hope that if a judge doesn’t think he has discretion, you’ll help with the legislation,″ Karen Howick said in a face-to-face exchange with the president after he gave a speech at the University of Oklahoma.

``I’ll see what I can do,″ Clinton said. ``I didn’t know about it until recently.″

The conversation was captured by a CBS News crew, which put a microphone on Ms. Howick’s lapel and filmed it from a camera platform above the crowd.

Ms. Howick has filed a friend-of-the-court motion seeking a closed circuit feed of the trial, which U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch moved to Denver due to intense media coverage in Oklahoma. Matsch has not ruled on the motion.

The Judicial Conference of the United States, which has a longstanding policy against cameras in the courtroom, has taken no position on pending legislation in Congress that would allow closed-circuit coverage of the case, saying the decision should be left to Matsch.

Many of the bombing victims have pushed for a closed-circuit feed because of the cost of traveling to Denver and because the designated courtroom holds fewer than 150 people.

Prosecutors have pledged to keep the victims apprised during the trial, but have not asked for a closed-circuit feed.

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