News & Politics

Want to Watch Accused Insurrections Get Hauled Before Judges? Here’s How.

Thanks to Covid-era rules, the public can access virtual courtrooms via teleconference lines.

Image via iStock.

It’s been almost two months since pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6, and many of the alleged insurrectionists are landing on the docket of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Among the defendants in the court’s pool? Olympic swimmer Klete Keller, who is scheduled to make an appearance today at 3:30 PM in Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather’s courtroom for a preliminary hearing.

Thanks to Covid-era rules, courts are going virtual until June 1—so no need to jog down to the brick-and-mortar building. If you’re interested in listening to Keller’s hearing—or any of the Capitol insurrectionist’s appearances—here’s how to access the virtual courtrooms:

If courts are virtual, how can access a hearing?

Although all court proceedings are happening via telephone or video at this time, the public still has access through teleconference lines provided by the district court. While you won’t be able to see the courtroom, you will be able to hear the arguments.

How do I find the correct teleconference line?

Dial-in lines for hearings are separated by judge, so onlookers must first find the presiding judge for the case on the court’s daily calendar. The agenda also features the date and time of the proceedings. Once you’ve found the presiding judge, pull up the magistrate’s toll-free number on the district court’s site. Access codes for entering the conference are also available in the same location.

I’ve got the right number. Now what?

The court recommends entering the virtual courtrooms up to 10 minutes before the hearing to ensure  a strong connection. No worries about accidentally interrupting the proceedings: All attendees are automatically muted upon entry. Although there’s no bailiff policing the calls, attendees must adhere to a set of rules, including the prohibition of photographing, recording, or rebroadcasting the proceedings.


Daniella Byck
Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.