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A Long Island politician charged with tax evasion cannot prevent media outlets from running photographs of him in handcuffs, a federal judge decided on Friday. Ruling from the bench, Eastern District Judge Arthur D. Spatt in Central Islip denied a motion by Nassau County Democratic legislator Roger Corbin to enjoin Newsday and cable channel News 12 from running pictures of him taken during a “perp walk” following his May 6 arrest. Judge Spatt said he was “troubled by [the] repeated use” of Mr. Corbin’s photograph with his hands handcuffed behind his back, when there were “numerous photographs” of him available from his 14 years as a lawmaker. But the judge said he lacked the authority to “censor the press in this matter and cannot instruct the press as to what images are newsworthy.” In court documents, Newsday and News 12 had argued that the defendant’s requests “plainly violate the First Amendment and should be promptly rejected.” Read Mr. Corbin’s filing , the media’s filing in opposition , a supplemental filing and the declaration of Mr. Schulz . Mr. Corbin failed to show that the nature and extent of media coverage would impair his right to a fair trial, except for “speculation on the part of his counsel,” argued attorney David A. Schulz, representing both media outlets. A change of venue or voir dire of prospective jurors would sufficiently weed out any potentially prejudiced jury members without invading free speech, wrote Mr. Schulz, of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz. Mr. Schulz added that an injunction against only Newsday and News 12 would not filter out the many other media sources available to potential jurors, while a “truly effective injunction would need to be breathtaking in its scope, a fact that weighs against restraint, rather than in its favor.” And he argued that court precedent had permitted the recording of “perp walks” by the media. For example, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Caldarola v. County of Westchester, 343 F. 3d 319 (2003), rejected a claim that the distribution of a videotaped perp walk violated a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights.

The photo at issue: Roger Corbin is led out of the Internal Revenue Service building in Garden City on May 6 after his arrest on tax evasion charges.

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