By Erick Johnson, Chicago Crusader
The mother of Laquan McDonald was questioned by lawyers in a closed hearing after Judge Vincent Gaughan cleared the courtroom of spectators and members of the media on Thursday, August 16.
Gaughan made the move, fearing that there may or may not be evidence that could prejudice potential jurors.
Hunter, who received a $5 million settlement from city, arrived carrying a toddler at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. She was accompanied by Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon.
Two days earlier, Gaughan ordered Hunter to comply with a subpoena to appear in court or she will be barred from attending the trial that starts September 5. Defense lawyers said they served Hunter twice with a subpoena to appear in court but were turned away on both visits.
Gaughan has cleared his courtroom several times during pre-trial hearings and kept certain files sealed and off limits to the media until the Illinois Supreme Court ordered him to end such a practice.
With publicity escalating in the high profile case, defense lawyers are concerned that Jason Van Dyke, the officer who shot McDonald 16 times, may not get a fair trial in Cook County and that it would be difficult to find jurors who have not been overexposed to the media coverage of the case.