A court order filed yesterday and obtained by Gun Rights Examiner in the case of U.S. vs. Reese has denied a motion by the prosecution to seal a hearing from the public. Defendants Rick and Terri Reese and son Ryin, New Mexico gun dealers jailed for allegedly knowingly selling guns to cartel members, and who have since had conspiracy and money laundering charges against them dismissed, have filed a motion for a new trial after being convicted of, as Jeff Knox of the Firearms Coalition described it, “the comparatively minor charge of lying on gun sales forms — even though the lies they were convicted of were perpetrated by federal agents and the Reese’s crimes were that they ‘should have known’ that the agents were lying.”
“To justify the closure of a courtroom over the objections of a defendant, ‘the party seeking to close [a public] hearing must advance an overriding interest that is likely to be prejudiced, the closure must be no broader than necessary to protect that interest, the trial court must consider reasonable alternatives to closing the proceeding, and it must make findings adequate to support the closure,’” Judge Robert C. Brack of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico wrote in Friday’s order.
“The Government has not met its burden in light of the Government’s disclosure of the witness’s identity in open court,” Brack continued. “Further, the Court has been told for at least two years that the Government could not seal a hearing and could not agree to seal a hearing as a result of a policy adopted by the Attorney General.
“The position of the Government here runs contrary to this policy without an explanation,” the judge determined. “The Court is all the more disinclined to seal the hearing on this basis.
“Finally, the Court is skeptical of the Government’s representation that the investigation remains ongoing since the reports date back over a decade,” Brack concluded in an undisguised rebuke to the prosecution. “In that the Government has not made the required showing, the hearing will be open to the public,” he ordered.
The order also decided documents would remain sealed for the defendants’ motion to unseal the motion for a new trial.
Gun Rights Examiner readers following this case and the family’s ordeal know the family has had assets needed to mount an effective defense seized, and Rick and Ryin have been jailed since their arrest in August of 2011. Wife Terri made bail in late March of 2012 when she was released to a halfway house. Son Remington was acquitted of all charges.
Readers here have also learned about conflicting testimony against the family by an ATF agent, puzzling details with a potential Fast and Furious connection, and stunning developments pointing to the prosecution withholding evidence about a key witness while the father and son, already cleared on the most serious charges, were led into Judge Brack’s courtroom shackled like dangerous animals.
With evidence of improprieties mounting, the government’s attempt to keep the public from witnessing further proceedings, in violation of the Justice Department’s own policy, becomes understandable, particularly as much of the information shared with the public about this case has come to Gun Rights Examiner via sources close to the family and the case, and notably, through the ground-breaking courtroom reporting of the Tea Party Patriots of Luna County, more often than not sharing information the “Authorized Journalist” media will not. Even considering all the outrageous persecution the Reese family has already suffered, it’s not hard to imagine it being much worse if the prosecution got its wish to seal off proceedings from such public scrutiny, and it’s also not hard to extrapolate that if they could do that to these defendants, they could do that to any.
The hearing will take place on Monday at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Brack’s court room in Las Cruces. Supporters of the Reese family are urging interested members of the public to attend.
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