July 24, 2024

Donald Trump’s trial could be televised if proposed legislation pushed by Albany Democrats gets approved in the new state budget.

New York is one of just two states that bar broadcasts from trial courtrooms.

“As the media capital of the world — and the venue for the arraignment of Donald Trump — we must change this outdated law to allow the public to witness trials,” said state Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-Manhattan), who is sponsoring the bill that would pave the way for courtroom cameras, at a Sunday press conference.

“With a first-of-its-kind trial on the horizon, there’s no time to waste in opening the doors of the courthouse to the media and the American public,” the pol said.

The proposal, introduced as part of the state’s pending budget plan, would take effect 90 days after becoming law. Trump’s trial isn’t expected to start for months.

Still, the trial judge would make the ultimate decision on whether to allow cameras in the courtroom, with or without the state law, but legislation would presumably make the path and argument for them easier.

The former president is reportedly facing dozens of charges related to an alleged $130,000 hush-money payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels so she would stay quiet about their affair ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has denied the alleged extramarital dalliance, as well as any criminal wrongdoing.

He is set to be arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, with Judge Juan Merchan expected to rule Monday on whether to allow cameras in the courtroom for the proceeding.

The huge interest in Trump’s case could help get Hoylman-Sigal’s bill passed, after similar attempts at getting TVs in local courtrooms have failed in the state Legislature since 2011.

In arguing for cameras in the courtroom, state Assemblyman Tony Simone (D-Manhattan) stood alongside Hoylman and other elected officials Sunday and said, “This case will undoubtedly test our judicial system and spawn innumerous conspiracy theories that will feed right-wing extremism.”

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration, told The Post on Monday that in principle, OCA has no problem with lifting restrictions on video and audio recordings in courtrooms.

But the rep said there are concerns about funding for the technological upgrades and the staff and training necessary to implement livestreaming as required by the legislation.

“We have considerable concerns regarding implementation of the mandatory court-run livestreaming of all proceedings also contained in the bill due to the significant costs and extremely short timeframes laid out in the proposal,” Chalfen said.


Follow The Post’s latest coverage on Trump’s indictment


Either way, the Albany proposal’s prospects remain uncertain as Gov. Kathy Hochul, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) continue budget negotiations two days after the April 1 deadline.

The three leaders have reportedly focused discussions thus far on Hochul’s controversial proposals to overhaul state bail laws and promote affordable housing — before even hunkering down over bigger fiscal issues.

State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens), who is sponsoring the bill in his chamber, noted Monday that the Assembly traditionally resists including non-fiscal policy proposals in the budget, which could doom its prospects for getting into a final deal.

But “I’d love to see it in the budget if the Senate is willing to push hard for it,” Weprin said.

Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) did not rule out the idea of supporting the measure in the budget when asked by a reporter Monday at the state Capitol.

“I did ask the staff to go back and look at the history. so I’m still trying to understand that,” he said. “We’ll look at it.”

Even if the long-delayed bill falls by the wayside in budget talks, Weprin noted there will likely be enough time to legalize courtroom cameras so viewers could tune into Trump’s much-anticipated trial — especially given expectations that the infamously litigious former president will delay the proceeding.

“Trump’s arraignment is tomorrow, and certainly we won’t have a budget by tomorrow anyways, and a trial is probably a year away, so there is plenty of time to do this,” Weprin told The Post.  

The bill’s supporters say more is at stake anyway.

“Public access is the bedrock of our justice system — but its promise is hollow if constrained by geographic proximity, workday availability and space constraints,” argued Dan Novack, chair of New York State Bar Association Committee on Media Law.

“Without cameras, the vast majority of the public is effectively denied access.”

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Rosner