University of Idaho murder suspect objects to Goncalves’ family motion to appeal gag order

University of Idaho in Moscow, ID Photo credit: Flickr

Bryan Kohberger, a defendant in the murder case involving four University of Idaho students, objected on Thursday to a motion from one of the alleged victim’s families to appeal or amend the gag order imposed last month.

Kohberger is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Moscow, Idaho in November including Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves.

Goncalves’ family lawyer, Shannon Gray, filed a motion on their behalf to appeal, amend and/or clarify an amended non-dissemination order, or gag order, granted by Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall last month. Included in the gag order are lawyers representing the families of the victims.

Gray argued in the Goncalves’ motion that he is not subject to the order as his clients are neither the prosecutors nor the defendants in this case, nor have they received information from either side and therefore do not constitute parties in this court case.

Citing the United States Supreme Court’s Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada decision, Kohberger’s state-appointed attorney, Jay Logsdon, wrote in the objection that Gray’s special access to information related to the case justifies restrictions on his speech.

“Dissemination of information forbidden by the Court’s order would be deemed authoritative as a result of this access and Mr. Gray’s status as an attorney, and therefore would endanger the jury’s impartiality,” said Logsdon in the court filing.

Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson filed an affidavit Wednesday that stated that members of the Goncalves family are potential witnesses in the case and may be called at the trial and sentencing hearings.

Last month a coalition that includes East Idaho News, the Associated Press and other local and national news organizations challenged the gag order, which also bars law enforcement and witnesses involved in the case from voicing statements about it.

Kohberger is a criminology graduate student at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, nine miles from Moscow, Idaho.

His preliminary hearing is set for June 26.