ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis judge on Tuesday denied a bid from the Los Angeles Rams and the National Football League to move a January 2022 trial over the team's 2016 move out of the city of St. Louis.
St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh, in denying the league's motion for a change of venue, said there's no evidence that potential city jurors have an inherent bias.
He also said there's no evidence that potential jurors have read-pretrial coverage of the case, which dates to 2017.
"With complete deference to the fifth estate, a lot of people don't get their news anymore from the newspapers or news outlets," McGraugh said, adding that most of the articles he reviewed, which contain opinion, were published more than a year ago.
"Any sort of recent articles, in many respects, have been generated by the defendants themselves," McGraugh said, referencing the defendants' decision to hold a hearing on their bid last week to strike counts in the case, an attempt to avoid a trial altogether. McGraugh indicated he could have considered that bid without a public hearing.
He also said potential jurors will be questioned thoroughly, "and if they respond to any sort of biased or prejudiced question contained in the questionnaire I'm going to permit that juror to be examined individually by the parties."
The defendants' latest position, he said, is also undermined by their previous arguments.
The Rams and NFL maintain that they didn't have to follow league relocation guidelines, but even if they did, "there wasn't enough support in this community to maintain the team."
"It seems now to be able to say that this community is so angry that they'll punish them for leaving seems to be contrary," McGraugh said.