Issue of cameras at Sands trial gets closed-door scrutiny

Whether or not Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson’s safety would be jeopardized by cameras recording his planned appearance on the witness stand this week received a closed-door examination Monday.

The Sands legal team, led by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, has asked Clark County District Judge Rob Bare to bar video and still cameras from the courtroom during Adelson’s testimony in a case brought by a former consultant. The legal team’s request is based on unspecified intelligence that court papers say has been gathered by Brian Nagel, the Sands global head of security.

The judge and other lawyers in the case conducted the 3½- hour session in secret at the request of Las Vegas Sands. To do so in public, the company contended in court papers, would expose its methods and sources and “exacerbate the threat.”

Bound by a confidentiality agreement, no one would comment afterward.

Several local media outlets, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal; KLAS, Channel 8; and KNTV, Channel 13, have filed routine applications for electronic coverage of the trial.

New York-based Courtroom View Network, a subscription service, wants to station a camera in the courtroom during the entire trial, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday and run about a month.

In the case, former consultant Richard Suen seeks payment for work he says helped Sands obtain its lucrative foothold in Macau. Suen won $60 million in a jury trial five years ago, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.

“I agree with a lot of what you have done to expose the virtues of” open-court procedures, Bare told Dershowitz in court Monday. “I agree that public confidence in the fairness of the court system is directly related to the openness of the court system.”

Dershowitz has spent more than four decades advocating cameras in the courtroom.

But because of the sensitive nature of the alleged security threats to Adelson, Bare agreed to exclude nonattorneys.

He is scheduled to rule on the matter today.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at toreiley or 702-387-5290.

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