MONTEZUMA, Iowa – The attorney for the man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts is asking for private hearings and a gag order on the prosecution.
Allan M. Richards has filed two motions in Poweshiek County District court on behalf of Cristhian Rivera. One motion claims Rivera’s right to a fair trial is being harmed by media coverage and asks that everyone except the participants be excluded from the court room for any legal hearing on the case. The other asks the judge to order the prosecution to only refer to Rivera as a “documented resident.”
In his second motion, Richard’s argues the government is “promoting the idea that Christian is not present in this jurisdiction legally” and that will “prevent any notion” of a fair trial. Richards specifically refers to the President’s comments on the case in stating “Sad and Sorry Trump has weighed in on this matter in national media which will poison the entire possible pool of jury members.”
The motion further claims Rivera has “complied with his documented status since arriving in the U.S.A. as a minor” and states Rivera has “dedicated his efforts toward honorable work in the dairy industry, has been trusted in his work with the safety of our very important milk supply to Iowa, the various states and other nations.”
Court records do not list any hearings scheduled so far on Richards’ motions but the judge has issued an order granting expanded media coverage of Rivera’s trial, which means cameras and other recording equipment will be allowed in the courtroom.
Authorities have said Rivera, a native of Mexico, is in the United States illegally, something Richards has disputed. The Iowa Department of Transportation said Thursday it never issued a driver’s license or any other official state ID to Rivera.