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Hearing on issues in Gibbs trial postponed

FARGO, N.D. (AP) _ A motion to allow cameras in the courtroom during the murder trial of former Barnes County jailer Moe Gibbs was approved by one judge and now is being considered by another.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) _ A motion to allow cameras in the courtroom during the murder trial of former Barnes County jailer Moe Gibbs was approved by one judge and now is being considered by another.

Judge Mikal Simonson approved the original request for expanded media coverage when Gibbs was charged with killing Valley City State University student Mindy Morgenstern.

The case later was transferred to Judge John Paulson, but the approval by Simonson "does not transfer to the other judge," KVLY-TV General Manager Charley Johnson said. The station has filed another request, Johnson said.

A pretrial hearing scheduled Friday to discuss the media order and other issues was postponed, with no reason given. Gibbs' trial is set for June 19 in Minot.

Jack McDonald, a Bismarck lawyer who lobbies for North Dakota newspapers and broadcasters, said it has been "years and years and years" since a North Dakota judge refused to allow cameras in the courtroom.

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"Most of the time when people ask to ban cameras, it's because they're worried about coverage," McDonald said. In the Gibbs case, he said, "there's going to be coverage, even without pictures."

Gibbs, 34, is charged with Class AA murder in the death of Morgenstern, whose body was found in her off-campus apartment last September. Authorities said Morgenstern, 22, of New Salem, died of strangulation and a cut to the neck.

Gibbs faces charges in two other cases. He is charged with sexually assaulted five female inmates while working at the Barnes County Jail, and with a 2004 rape in Fargo. He has pleaded not guilty.

Barnes County prosecutor Brad Cruff asked for a gag order in the Morgenstern case, after a lab test report was leaked to KVLY. The station said it would not report on the information until it was presented in court.

Cruff and Jeff Bredahl, Gibbs' attorney, did not return phone messages on Friday.

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