Judge OKs broadcast, limits attendance at Iowa murder trial

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Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, is led from the courtroom after making his initial appearance on a charge of first-degree murder during at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma, Iowa, on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. Rivera is accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The public will be able to watch the trial of the man charged with killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts – but not in person.

Citing COVID-19 protocols, Judge Joel Yates said in an order dated Monday that members of the public and news media will not be allowed to attend the trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera that starts next week.

But he said news outlets can operate remote-controlled video cameras to broadcast the proceedings live on the internet or television. Rivera is expected to stand trial beginning Monday in Davenport for first-degree murder in the death of Tibbetts, 20, who disappeared in July 2018 while out for a run in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa.

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