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Why lawyers want to protect Jesse Matthew from the media

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Posted at 3:15 PM, Jun 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-03 15:17:48-04

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Lawyers for Jesse Matthew have asked a Fairfax judge to keep the media out of his next hearing. In a motion filed Fairfax County Circuit Court, Matthew’s lawyers argued the intense media attention around their client could jeopardize his right to a fair trial. The motion comes one day before the woman Matthew allegedly attacked in 2005 was expected to testify during a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Thursday.

“The questions that will be asked of the witness, her answers and the arguments of counsel are most likely going to be repeated at the trial,” the motion to suppress read. “If the information is in the news media in the days before trial, it will annihilate Mr. Matthew’s right to a fair trial. There will be absolutely no way to select an impartial jury.”

Matthew’s lawyers went on to say whether the woman can or cannot identify Matthew in court was “not the type of information that potential jurors should be privy to just a few short days prior to the start of trial.”

Matthew is scheduled to go on trial Monday for attempted capital murder and sex crimes against a woman who was attacked outside her apartment in September 2005. Last month, a judge denied Matthew’s lawyers motion to delay the trial so they could “adequately prepare for trial and protect [Jesse Matthew’s] Constitutional rights.”

The Fairfax Case

Court documents unsealed in March indicated Matthew abducted a woman on a path near her Fairfax apartment on September 24, 2005. It was alleged Matthew choked her and sexually assaulted her with his hand. DNA was taken from the victim and that sample linked Matthew to the offense, according to the documents.

That evidence prompted Matthew’s defense to request funds in the amount of $2,000 for a DNA expert.

DNA from the Fairfax case linked Matthew to murdered Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington the night she disappeared from UVa’s John Paul Jones Arena in 2009. That DNA was also collected in the Hannah Graham murder case.

Matthew is expected in Albemarle Court on June 25 where he is charged with capital murder in the Graham case.