Attorney withdraws request to close portions of Lakin trial

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 11, 2007, 5:15am

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Clark filed a motion to withdraw his request that sought to have portions of Tom Lakin's criminal trial closed to the public.

According to Clark's motion filed Sept. 10, each of the juvenile victims and witnesses in the case has expressed a willingness to testify without closing the court.

Clark also informed District Judge J. Phil Gilbert that the juveniles' parents also agreed that closing the courtroom was not needed.

Lakin, who is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old boy and distributing cocaine, is scheduled to be on trial in January.

Clark originally wanted the courtroom closed to the public when the juveniles testified to prevent disclosure of their identity and in order to spare them and their families further trauma since the case involves the sexual exploitation of a juvenile.

He argued that the victim, who suffers from Tourette's Syndrome, was 15-years-old at the time of the incident referenced in the indictment and is now 17 years old while other possible juvenile witnesses are 15-18-years-old.

The Belleville News Democrat and the St. Louis Post Dispatch filed a motion to intervene in the case so they could oppose Clark's request.

Gilbert allowed the newspapers to intervene last week, however, their motion is now moot with Clark's new motion.

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