State of Utah moves for gag order in Kouri Richins case following ‘unanticipated and overwhelming’ media attention
By TownLift // Ashtyn Asay,2023-06-01
SUMMIT COUTY, Utah — The State of Utah moved yesterday for the court to impose a gag order in the case against Kouri Richins for the murder of her husband Eric Richins.
The temporary gag order would prohibit anyone involved with the case from commenting on the case, except through court documents. The state has asked that the court issue the order immediately before a hearing on the matter can take place.
According to the motion, the Summit County Attorney’s Office has been contacted by numerous non-local media outlets following Kouri’s arrest on May 8, including BBC, CNN, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post and at least four filmmaking organizations wishing to produce a documentary on the case.
Court documents allege that Kouri has been communicating with a documentary filmmaker both directly and through a friend.
“Certain of these non-local media outlets have camped out in the public waiting area outside the Summit County Attorney’s Office, tried to get inside the jail to speak to the Defendant, contacted the jail and Sheriff’s Office staff asking absurd questions such as whether or not the Defendant is eating her food, contacted the Summit County Sheriff’s search and rescue volunteers asking them for information and statements,” said court documents.
Court documents also allege that representatives from non-local media outlets have contacted at least one key witness in the case asking for statements, “wooed” the victim family’s private investigator by promising them that a “handsome actor” would play them in an upcoming production, and approached one of the court’s clerks at a gas station asking her for information.
According to the motion for a gag order, the order is intended to protect the presumption of Kouri’s innocence, as well as as the privacy of her three minor children.
“In this case, observation of the Defendant’s presumption of innocence and protection against pre-trial tainting of the jury pool should be paramount,” said court documents. “Furthermore, at the center of this matter are three minor children belonging to Eric Richins and Kouri Richins. The children should be shielded to the greatest extent possible from the glare of untimely publicity.”