Citing “significant media interest” in the case, Chief Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale on Nov. 20 filed a request in Cherokee County’s Superior Court to limit all parties involved from talking publicly about the case and to bar any of the evidence from being released.
A judge has not yet ruled on the request.
According to the request, the evidence in the case will likely include the alleged false statements made by Marlow, her political adviser Robert Trim and Cherokee GOP Secretary Barbara Knowles, as well as audio and video tape.
Marlow, Trim and Knowles each face multiple felony counts of making false statements allegedly accusing Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo of trying to run them down in his car after a school board meeting June 13.
The request also notes Marlow’s attorney Brian Steel showed part of a surveillance tape of the incident during a hearing Nov. 14 when a panel formed by Gov. Nathan Deal was to consider if Marlow should be suspended from office pending her charges. The panel decided she could stay on the school board and Deal upheld that decision.
The video, which authorities have declined to release, was recorded by Atlanta area TV news stations during the hearing and showed on air, Carnesale added in her request.
There have also been numerous reports by print and radio news outlets since word broke in July that the Canton Police Department had obtained a warrant for Marlow’s arrest, along with Trim and Knowles.
With so much media attention, Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit District Attorney Shannon Wallace said the gag order request was intended to protect the integrity of the case.
“Every defendant has a right to a fair and impartial jury,” Wallace said Monday. “In cases where there is extensive and detailed pre-trial publicity, these rights could be affected.”
Such trials are sometimes moved to another jurisdiction where media coverage has been lighter, but Wallace said that is “more than just an inconvenience.”
“It is expensive and time consuming, and can be a real drain on resources,” she said.
The request hasn’t been heard in court and it is unclear when a judge will take up the case.
Marlow, Trim and Knowles appeared in court Nov. 21 to be arraigned on their charges, but Chief Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris recused himself from hearing the case, because his wife is a teacher in the school district.
Marlow was expected to plead not guilty during the hearing, but never got the chance because of Harris’ recusal.
Harris reassigned the case to Judge Ellen McElyea, who said shortly after hearing the news she was unsure of if she could take the case or when it would move forward.
Doug Barnes, assistant to McElyea, confirmed Monday the judge has not reassigned the case — although it is unclear whether or not she will at some point — and no new court date has been set.
Whenever the defendants end up in court next, the judge will also consider a request made by Marlow’s attorney to have her indictment thrown out. Steel made that request in October, alleging Marlow had been denied her right to appear before the grand jury that indicted her in mid-October.