Gag order denied in Jesse Mathew’s Fairfax rape case

Posted at 7:05 PM, Jan 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-09 19:05:36-05

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. -- Jesse Matthew Jr. entered the courtroom under tight security. He smiled and nodded his head at his father before the start of Friday's hearing.

The judge ruled on three motions filed by his defense team in the high profile trial that's expected to last for weeks.

But before that can happen, a Fairfax judge must rule on several motions filed by the defense team involving Matthew’s upcoming trial.

At Friday's hearing, Judge David Schell denied their request for a gag order which means attorneys can release limited information to the public.

Defense attorneys wanted the sag order, saying it would hinder their case and taint the potential jury pool.

But Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney argued that they can protect the rights of the victim and still inform the public. The judge sided with prosecutors as long as it doesn't jeopardize the case or the witnesses called to testify.

The judge also ordered that all court documents related to Matthew’s case be sealed, pending the trial and throughout the appeals process.

He also granted the defense's motion to pay $2,000 to hire a DNA expert to analyze documents of forensic evidence linking Jesse Matthew to an attack on a Fairfax woman in 2005, which he is now charged in that case.  She was allegedly abducted and raped.

And both prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to present mounds of evidence to the court and a jury in order to prove their cases.

"I think that the judge in my opinion hit on the head,” said Raymond Morrogh, Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney. “There's people that need to know what's going on and that we're professionals. We're all experienced and I have confidence in the opposing counsel as well that we'll all abide by the rules."

Messages left for Jesse Matthew Sr. after Friday's hearing were not returned.

Matthew will remain behind bars in Fairfax until his trial on March 9.