CONWAY, Arkansas — A Faulkner County judge has agreed to allow attorneys for former University of Central Arkansas chief of staff Jack Gillean file a sealed motion related to evidence in a burglary case related to the theft of tests from the offices of UCA professors.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1jXUYQw) that defense attorney Tim Dudley said releasing the motion could prejudice potential jurors in Gillean's trial.
Judge Charles Clawson Jr. approved the motion Friday.
"I have no idea what sort of bombshell we're going to have in this motion," Clawson said in announcing his decision. "The public's right to know is important, the defendant's right to a fair trial may trump that sometimes."
The motion must be filed by March 3, prior to the scheduled March 10 start of Gillean's trial in Van Buren County Circuit Court in Clinton on a change of venue from Faulkner County because of pretrial publicity.
Dudley said he had counted seven articles in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about the case since an October hearing. He said he had not counted the articles in the Log Cabin Democrat, the newspaper in Conway, where UCA is located.
Dudley said there probably will be only one sealed motion filed but that it "will cover a number of subjects."
Prosecutors did not object to sealing the motion during Friday's hearing, which was held to reconsider the issue at the defense's request. Clawson had denied a similar request during an October hearing.
Dudley specifically complained about a newspaper article reporting the prosecution's request in October for Gillean to be drug-tested. Clawson denied that request, which Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Troy Braswell made in open court.
"I think that's terribly prejudicial to Mr. Gillean," Dudley said Friday.
Gillean resigned June 15, 2012, from UCA after university President Tom Courtway questioned him about a master key given to police by then-student Cameron Stark.
Prosecutors allege that Gillean gave Stark, who is no longer a UCA student, the key knowing that Stark intended to steal tests from professors' offices.
Stark has been given immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony, as have three other people, according to court records.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com