NEW YORK—As the trial of James Holmes reached its first day on Tuesday, New York’s most prominent art critic, David Karpinski, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for an end to mistrial and calling for the immediate end to the “troubling” media coverage of the trial.
“If this trial were to go forward, there is a strong likelihood that the public would learn much more about the defendant’s motivations and conduct than has been revealed by the prosecution,” Karpinksi wrote.
“We must call this a trial.
We must demand that the jurors receive fair treatment, not that they be treated with undue disdain and fear.
This is a trial, not a lynching.”
A New York Times article published on Monday said the prosecution was prepared to use a mistrial if jurors were not allowed to see or hear audio of key evidence from the two hours of closing arguments the defense lawyers have used in their closing arguments.
Karpinski was joined by more than 100 other art critics in a letter that he wrote to the editors of The New York Review of Books calling for a halt to media coverage and a new trial.
Kurt Vonnegut and Ayn Rand were among the authors who signed the letter.
Kirby Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, also penned a column for The Times.
In it, she said she was disturbed by the “disproportionate and damaging coverage” of the case by the New York Daily News and others.
The letter said, “The media coverage is both troubling and wrong.
I am deeply disturbed by this, and by the damage it does to a culture of inquiry and critical thought.”
It also called for an apology from the Daily News for publishing an article on December 17, 2016, in which the paper quoted a former classmate of Holmes’ as saying that he “would be the first person to admit that he has been a horrible person.”
The Daily News said it regrets the error.
The paper has apologized.
The trial is set to begin on Monday.