Prosecutor wants ‘gag order’ in Marlow case
by Joshua Sharpe
November 26, 2013 11:55 PM | 1530 views | 3 3 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
School Board Member Kelly Marlow and her political adviser Robert Trim leave the courtroom Nov. 21 after the judge recused himself from the case. <br>Staff/Todd Hull
School Board Member Kelly Marlow and her political adviser Robert Trim leave the courtroom Nov. 21 after the judge recused himself from the case.
Staff/Todd Hull
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CANTON — The prosecutor in the case against Cherokee County School Board Member Kelly Marlow wants a “gag order” in the proceedings.

Citing “significant media interest” in the case, Chief Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale on Nov. 20 filed a request in Cherokee County’s Superior Court to limit all parties involved from talking publicly about the case and to bar any of the evidence from being released.

A judge has not yet ruled on the request.

According to the request, the evidence in the case will likely include the alleged false statements made by Marlow, her political adviser Robert Trim and Cherokee GOP Secretary Barbara Knowles, as well as audio and video tape.

Marlow, Trim and Knowles each face multiple felony counts of making false statements allegedly accusing Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo of trying to run them down in his car after a school board meeting June 13.

The request also notes Marlow’s attorney Brian Steel showed part of a surveillance tape of the incident during a hearing Nov. 14 when a panel formed by Gov. Nathan Deal was to consider if Marlow should be suspended from office pending her charges. The panel decided she could stay on the school board and Deal upheld that decision.

The video, which authorities have declined to release, was recorded by Atlanta area TV news stations during the hearing and showed on air, Carnesale added in her request.

There have also been numerous reports by print and radio news outlets since word broke in July that the Canton Police Department had obtained a warrant for Marlow’s arrest, along with Trim and Knowles.

With so much media attention, Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit District Attorney Shannon Wallace said the gag order request was intended to protect the integrity of the case.

“Every defendant has a right to a fair and impartial jury,” Wallace said Monday. “In cases where there is extensive and detailed pre-trial publicity, these rights could be affected.”

Such trials are sometimes moved to another jurisdiction where media coverage has been lighter, but Wallace said that is “more than just an inconvenience.”

“It is expensive and time consuming, and can be a real drain on resources,” she said.

The request hasn’t been heard in court and it is unclear when a judge will take up the case.

Marlow, Trim and Knowles appeared in court Nov. 21 to be arraigned on their charges, but Chief Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris recused himself from hearing the case, because his wife is a teacher in the school district.

Marlow was expected to plead not guilty during the hearing, but never got the chance because of Harris’ recusal.

Harris reassigned the case to Judge Ellen McElyea, who said shortly after hearing the news she was unsure of if she could take the case or when it would move forward.

Doug Barnes, assistant to McElyea, confirmed Monday the judge has not reassigned the case — although it is unclear whether or not she will at some point — and no new court date has been set.

Whenever the defendants end up in court next, the judge will also consider a request made by Marlow’s attorney to have her indictment thrown out. Steel made that request in October, alleging Marlow had been denied her right to appear before the grand jury that indicted her in mid-October.

Comments
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Mal N Tent
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November 28, 2013
The defendants are the ones that decided to show the video in the first place, against the prosecutor's wishes. Good luck trying to put this on anyone else by the defendants. They have become pretty good at wasting taxpayer dollars.
Barn Door
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November 27, 2013
Isn't it a bit late for prosecutors to shut the barn door on media coverage of this case. Wasn't it the Canton Police that publicized this case negatively and put it on TV to begin with. This absurd case is also costing the defendants in time and money, and reputation and if these defendants must leave this jurisdiction to get a fair trial and "inconvenience" the District Attorney and cost taxpayers more in the process then the fault lies with the prosecution not the defendants.
Acme Fence Co.
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November 28, 2013
Absurd is these three people calling police (who were. Wry busy in the wake of a tornado) and making clearly embellished statements to police to try and get a political enemy arrested. Canton police didn't seek the media attention, and they certainly weren't the ones showing the evidence to everyone.
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