Media Moves to Block Gag Order in High-Profile Trial

Three media entities–including a gay-run blog and the parent company of hyperlocal TBD.com–have filed a motion to intervenee to challenge a gag order imposed in the civil trial of three gay men in DC who are accused in the wrongful death of a heterosexual man found dead in the home of the men who were in a three-way relationship.

The blog, Who Murdered Robert Wone,is joined by Albritton Communications–which ownd TBD.com, the ABC affiliate in DC, Politico, and TBD TV–and Washingtonian magazine.  The “murder bloggers” have taken the lead in covering the mysterious death, including the failed criminal case against the three men accused of a cover-up. With the criminal case over, the family of Wone–who was spending the night at the home of his college friend who was also a prominent gay right activist when he was found dead and the scene cleaned up–has filed a multi-million dollar civil suit against the three men who acknowledge being in a three-way relationship that included BDSM role-play.

Here’s the Washington Blade’s summary of the legal move by the three men trying to impose a gag order:

In a little noticed development, attorneys representing gay defendants Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward filed an Oct. 8 motion in D.C. Superior Court asking for an order barring the attorneys from making “extra-judicial statements” about the case to anyone outside the courtroom.

“Most of the media coverage has clearly implicated the defendants of some wrongdoing, premised upon multiple inaccurate and untruthful assertions of the Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) and the U.S. Attorney General’s Office for the District of Columbia,” the defense motion states.

“The press coverage is necessarily having the effect of poisoning the jury pool, which [threatens] to make it impossible for the defendants to find an impartial jury,” it says.

The three defendants have been named in a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit in connection with the 2006 murder of D.C. attorney Robert Wone, who was stabbed to death in their upscale townhouse near Dupont Circle.

Earlier this year, a Superior Court judge found the men not guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and evidence tampering in connection with the murder. No one has been charged with the murder.

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