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Steubenville Rape Case: Ohio judge weighs whether to keep trial open to the public

Activists from the online group KnightSec and Anonymous protest at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Members of the group said they are outraged over what they contend is a cover-up in a case involving the alleged rape of a teenage girl by Steubenville High School student-athletes that reportedly occurred in 2012. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Thomas Ondrey) MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES
Thomas Ondrey
Protestors outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Some say they are outraged over what they contend is a cover-up in the rape case that involves high school football players.
AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Thomas Ondrey

(AP) STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - An Ohio judge plans to decide whether the trial of two high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl should be closed to the public.

The girl and her parents, one defendant and state Attorney General Mike DeWine all want next month's trial closed, either to protect the accuser or, in the defendant's case, to guard against possible witness intimidation.

News organizations including The Associated Press have argued that openness is the best way to ensure public confidence in the proceedings.

Judge Thomas Lipps plans a hearing Friday afternoon where he'll take testimony from both sides, then decide.

The football players are accused of attacking the girl after an alcohol-fueled party in August 2012 in Steubenville. The girl attends a different high school across the river in West Virginia.

Complete coverage of the Steubenville Rape Case on Crimesider