Judge orders limit on public discussion in Lathem murder trial

Wyndham Lathem.

Source: Chicago Police Department

Wyndham Lathem.

Alan Perez, Assistant Campus Editor

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A Cook County judge has barred attorneys from publicly discussing a high-profile case charging former Feinberg Prof. Wyndham Lathem with murder.

Judge Charles Burns issued the gag order Feb. 14, though it went largely unnoticed until the Chicago Tribune first reported the news Friday.

The order prohibits prosecutors and Lathem’s lawyers from publicly saying anything other than essential facts or public information, according to the Tribune. Burns gave no public reason for the order, which prohibits attorneys from discussing personal opinions, possible evidence or testimony.

Lathem was indicted last September on six charges of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say Lathem and former Oxford University employee Andrew Warren killed 26-year-old Trenton Cornell-Duranleau as part of a premeditated murder-sex fantasy.

Lathem was fired from the University soon after he fled the Chicago area, leading law enforcement officials on a nationwide manhunt that ended in California. Police extradited Lathem to Chicago, where Cornell-Duranleau had been stabbed to death.

Lathem pleaded not guilty to the charges and has since been held without bond.

Judges issue gag orders to keep trials fair, as public discussion has the potential to sway a jury before the selection process. Attorneys have not yet chosen a jury, meaning possible jurors are susceptible to such information.

Prosecutors also sought permission to search Lathem’s phone at a Friday pretrial hearing, according to the Tribune.

Email: aperez@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @_perezalan_