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- The trial in Johnny Depp’s defamation case is being televised and Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking case was not, but not because of a double standard.
- Depp’s trial is taking place in a county courtroom, while Maxwell’s was in federal court which generally prohibits recording devices.
On social media, some users called out what they seem to consider a double standard in how the "system" is treating this case versus the case against Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted of sex trafficking a minor.
"The same system that kept you in the dark about Ghislaine Maxwell and her client list doesn’t mind live-streaming Johnny Depp’s trial," one such post said.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We’ve checked a similar comparison before.
In 2021, PolitiFact looked at the claim that the media televised the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse "because he is a ‘white supremacist shooter’" while limiting coverage of Maxwell’s trial to "some cartoon drawing." We rated that Mostly False, because while Rittenhouse’s trial was televised and Maxwell’s wasn’t, the claim implied that the coverage was handled differently because of the nature of the crimes and the people involved.
That was wrong then, and it’s wrong in this case, too.
Rittenhouse was tried in state court in Wisconsin, where cameras are allowed inside the courtroom.
Maxwell was on trial in federal court, where in most instances, cameras and recording devices aren’t allowed. That’s been the case for decades. However, the trial was covered widely in the media. Many reporters were in the courtroom taking notes to file stories later, providing live updates as the trial unfolded, filming segments outside for television broadcast coverage, and more.
Depp’s trial is taking place in Fairfax Circuit Court in Virginia, where the decision to allow cameras in the courtroom is left to the judge presiding over the case.
We rate claims about a double standard False.
Facebook post, Monday April 25, 2022
The New York Times, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s Fight Left Home Damaged, Witness Says, April 25, 2022
CBS News, Johnny Depp's defamation trial against Amber Heard resumes, visited April 26, 2022
USA Today, Watch live: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel trial, visited April 26, 2022
Fox, LIVE: Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial testimony, visited April 26, 2022
PolitiFact, Contrast in Rittenhouse, Maxwell trial coverage due to state and fed court rules, not hidden agenda, Nov. 22, 2021
Fairfax County Circuit Court, Electronic Devices in the Courthouse, visited April 26, 2022
CBC News, Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel trial is nothing short of a media circus, April 24, 2022
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