Judge In Manson Case Asks Press Withhold Interview
Friday, July 17th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 17 – The judge presiding over the Charles Manson murder trial made an unprecedented request of the news media yesterday to refrain from using an interview given earlier in the day by an attorney.
“I’m pleading with you” said Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older as he discussed his wishes from the bench.
The jurist at first cleared the courtroom of jurors prospective alternate jurors and spectators before he spoke to about a dozen reporters.
Manson 35-year-old nomadic cultist and his three female codefendants sat listening intently as the judge explained it was possible the interview with Atty. Paul Caruso might prejudice the case.
“I can’t see that the benefit (in publishing or broadcasting the interview) to the media would be sufficient to warrant the risk,” Judge Older said.
“It could conceivably result in there not being a trial at this time.”
The jurist pointed out that extreme care had been taken to select the seven-men, five-women jury and just as much caution was being taken to choose six alternates.
Prospective panel members have been quizzed extensively on whether they have formed any opinions about the guilt or innocence of the four “Manson family members” accused in the slayings last August of actress Sharon Tate and six others.
Caruso appeared in the courtroom Thursday after he was subpoenaed by Manson’s attorney, Irving A. Kanarek.
Caruso is a partner of Atty. Richard Caballero, who once represented 22-year-old Susan Atkins, one of the defendants.
The reason for the subpoena was not made public.
After the judge asked – the news media to “refrain” from using the interview, several reporters stood and asked if the judge was making an order from the bench.
It was at this time he replied that he was “pleading” with the news representatives not to use the interview. All reporters in the courtroom Thursday afternoon agreed not to use the purportedly prejudicial interview.
During his plea from the bench, Judge Older was asked if he also wanted the courtroom session kept secret.
He again replied in the negative saying news media could use this story as long as they do it without mentioning the substance of the Caruso interview.
Jurors and prospective alternates were brought back into the courtroom following Judge Older’s talk with reporters. Selection of alternates, which began last Tuesday, then continued.