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Judge Rejects Gag Order In Case Against Jesse Matthew

FAIRFAX, Va. (WJZ) -- A judge rejects the gag order in the case against Jesse Matthew. He is accused of abducting and killing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Marcus Washington reports first Matthew is standing trial for a 2005 sexual assault and attempted murder case.

Jesse Matthew's public defender argued for a gag order, complaining that the Commonwealth's Attorney, Ray Morrogh, may have already tainted the potential jury pool by talking about the alleged victim, who is a mother now and lives in India.

"We oppose the gag order because I think it is important for the public to have access to information about how the process works. I think it promotes confidence in the courts," Morrogh said. "I'm actually proud of our court system. I think our judges and lawyers on both sides of the fence do a good job and I think the public is well served is they can have access to that."

The defense attorney also argued successfully for funds to pay for a DNA expert. She says the Commonwealth's only evidence in the case is DNA if one fingernail scraping.

Court documents have already shown the linking of Matthew to a 2006 Fairfax sex assault case with DNA collected from under the victim's fingernail when she fought off her attacker.

"The evidence will come out in court. That's how we'll play it," said Morrogh.

Matthew was the last person seen with University of Virginia student Hannah Graham when she disappeared in September. After a nationwide manhunt, Matthew was caught in Galveston, Texas.

Graham's body was later found in a rural area 12 miles south of Charlottesville.

The judge also ordered the Commonwealth to hand over evidence to the defense.

The trial is scheduled to begin in March.

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