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Attorney wants to bar cameras from trial in CIA killings

July 2, 1997

FAIRFAX (AP) _ Attorneys for a man charged with killing two CIA employees and wounding three other people outside the agency’s headquarters asked a judge Tuesday to bar television and other cameras from the trial.

Lawyers for Mir Aimal Kansi have also asked for the medical records of the victims and bystanders in the attack.

Fairfax County Circuit Judge J. Howe Brown will consider the request to ban cameras from the courtroom and several other motions during a hearing Wednesday and may set a date for Kansi’s capital murder trial.

News organizations are seeking permission to televise the trial and take pictures in the courtroom.

``It is impossible to determine pretrial the full extent to which jurors, witnesses or attorneys in this case may be intimidated or constrained by the knowledge that they are being watched by millions of people,″ public defender Richard Goemann wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

Kansi faces 10 state charges and a possible death penalty in the Jan. 25, 1993, attack.

Goemann cited the trial of Lorena Bobbitt in Prince William County, Va., and the O.J. Simpson criminal trial in claiming that highly publicized trials can take on a circus atmosphere.

``The potential of television to pollute and denigrate the trial process by the intrusion of show business, publishing, merchandising and other commercial interests is very real,″ Goemann wrote.

He also wants a gag order on lawyers and prosecutors to stem leaks to the media.

``I put nothing beyond the commercial instincts of the public,″ Goemann said in an interview Tuesday. ``It’s happened before in recent history and it’s vitally important that it not happen again.″

Kansi, 33, was among the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted fugitives until captured in a secret raid in his native Pakistan last month. He has been held without bond since his return June 17.

Frank Darling, 28, and Lansing Bennett, 66, died when a gunman opened fire in morning traffic outside the CIA gates in Langley. The killer slipped away in the confusion after the attack. Police focused on Kansi within days of the killings, but he had already left the country.

The former courier and graduate student bought an AK-47 rifle days before the shootings, which police found in Kansi’s Fairfax County apartment. Police linked the gun to the shootings.

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