The judge in the fraud and tax-evasion trial of Nancy Hoover Hunter refused Wednesday to lift the sweeping gag order he imposed on trial participants in May.
The ruling by U. S. District Judge Earl B. Gilliam came after a request last week by Hunter’s attorneys, who want to be able to communicate to the press when they feel their case has been misstated.
Gilliam said he wanted to “maintain the status quo” because the trial is going well. He said that, if he lifts the gag order, it “may well cause a greater probability” that people may relay information to jurors.
Hunter is facing a 234-count indictment in which prosecutors allege she played an active role in the bilking of investors in J. David & Co.
The defense maintains that Hunter was not aware that Jerry Dominelli was committing fraud because she was blinded by love for Dominelli, the company’s mastermind.
Testimony on Wednesday came from a longtime friend, who said she went to Hunter in 1983 to ask about a $6,000 inheritance she had received.
Vivian Truax of Del Mar said Hunter was “an old and trusted friend” who was only trying to help her. Truax testified that Hunter offered to invest the inheritance in her own account because Truax could “not afford to speculate.”
However, Truax lost most of her money when J. David collapsed in February 1984.
Truax spoke very highly of Hunter, and the two were seen embracing in the hallway during a court recess.