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Judge rejects motion for gag order in Fairfax rape case
Neal Augenstein,

FAIRFAX -- Jesse Matthew had a supporter in the courtroom during his motions hearing -- his father.

As he was led into the courtroom, in a greenish jumpsuit, Matthew's eyes searched the crowded gallery.

When he saw his father, Jesse Sr., Matthew nodded in recognition, before sitting at the end of the defense table with his public defenders Dawn Butorac and Robert Frank. 

Matthew's attorney in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Jim Camblos, made his first appearance in the courtroom after being appointed co-counsel when this case began.

During the hearing, Circuit Court Judge David Schell denied the defense's motion for a gag order, but agreed to seal the court file until the trial is concluded.

In addition, Schell authorized $2000 for the defense to hire a DNA expert, and ordered prosecutors to make evidence available for discovery in 2 weeks.

In the hallway, reporters asked Matthew's father if it was good to see his son, and he answered yes.

Asked if he felt his son was being treated well, Matthew Sr. indicated he preferred not to answer questions, and reporters ceased.

Matthew's trial in Fairfax is scheduled to begin March 9, and Butorac told the judge it would be difficult to be ready for trial by then, given "3 and one-half inches" of DNA records, reports, and communiations accumulated in the 9-year investigation.

The judge acknowledged Butorac's concerns but withheld ruling on any potential delay.


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