Judge denies request to unseal Jeremy Christian affidavit

Jeremy Christian accused of killing 2 men on a MAX train in May 2017

Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian during a court appearance in Multnomah County, October 20, 2017 (KOIN)
Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian during a court appearance in Multnomah County, October 20, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge denied a request by  KOIN 6 News to unseal an affidavit prepared by police in the Jeremy Christian investigation.

The court hearing, set at the request of the attorneys involved in the case, took place Friday morning.

Judge Cheryl A. Albrecht ruled it’s not the kind of document that’s generally released for public scrutiny until possibly later in the legal case.

After the ruling and as he was being led out of the court, Christian blurted, “If I’m a white supremacist why did I vote for Bernie Sanders? FOX 12 is the primaries here in Oregon, headquarters.”

Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian during a court appearance in Multnomah County, October 20, 2017 (KOIN)
Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian during a court appearance in Multnomah County, October 20, 2017 (KOIN)

Christian is accused of killing Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, on a TriMet MAX train in Northeast Portland back in May.

Micah Fletcher, 21, was also stabbed but survived the attack.

The three men were reportedly standing up to Christian, who was said to have been yelling racist remarks towards two young women, one of whom was wearing a headscarf.

Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian during a court appearance in Multnomah County, October 20, 2017 (KOIN)
Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian during a court appearance in Multnomah County, October 20, 2017 (KOIN)

During the investigation, KOIN 6 News learned detectives with the Portland Police Bureau’s Homicide Details applied for, and were granted, a search warrant. The affidavit for the warrant was sealed by the courts.

Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian during a court appearance in Multnomah County, October 20, 2017 (KOIN)
Accused MAX killer Jeremy Christian during a court appearance in Multnomah County, October 20, 2017 (KOIN)

Christian was indicted on June 6 by a grand jury and faces charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, intimidation, menacing and unlawful use of a weapon.

“The public has an obvious and legitimate interest in knowing on a timely basis the actions being taken by the government officials-law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges responsible for the investigation, prosecution and trial of the Defendant,” KOIN 6 News Director Richard M. Kurz wrote in a letter to the court. “Yet, the search warrants and related affidavits and other records now on file with the Trial Administrator in the court’s file room are under seal, entirely unavailable for public inspection.”

In the letter to the judge KOIN 6 News asserts there “is no compelling reason for sealing the affidavits submitted in support of the arrest warrant for the Defendant in this case. The Defendant is in custody, and there is no risk of flight. Although Defendant could seek to assert prejudice to his right to a fair trial for fear of ‘tainting’ the jury pool, such a risk should not be presumed…Moreover, even if there were such a risk, courts routinely enlist alternative procedures such as voir dire, rather than close the public’s access to information.”

Christian has been arraigned on the grand jury indictment and a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Friday’s hearing was originally supposed to be a bail hearing, but at least one of the state’s witnesses was not available to be in court so the bail hearing was moved to November.