Nancy Cooper

Judge eases ban on interviews outside Cooper murder trial

Posted March 9, 2011 11:10 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2011 1:10 p.m. EST

— A judge has relaxed a ban on interviews outside the Wake County Courthouse where he is presiding over the murder trial of a Cary man in the death of his wife.

Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner ruled Tuesday that interviews can be conducted on sidewalks around the Wake County courthouse except around doors where jurors may enter and leave.

Several media outlets fought the restrictions after an order last month that limited the media in and around the courthouse during the trial of Brad Cooper.

Cooper faces a charge of first-degree murder in the July 2008 death of Nancy Cooper. He has pleaded not guilty and previously told authorities that his wife went for a jog and never returned.

Gessner also made several other rulings during a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, including one allowing the jury to hear what Nancy Cooper said to others at a party the night before she disappeared.

Jury selection began Feb. 28 and continued Wednesday, with prosecutors and defense attorneys trying to find at least one more alternate juror.

Opening statements could happen as early as Wednesday afternoon.