Tom Benson civil case will not be open to public

Tom Benson civil case will not be open to public

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The civil case in the Tom Benson power struggle will not be open to the public.

Judge Kern Reese held firm to his ruling that all hearings in the civil case involving Benson's health and mental competency would be sealed. Several media outlets had challenged a civil court judge's ruling to close the courtroom during arguments related to Benson's health.

A group of newspaper and TV organizations, including ESPN, Hearst television and newspapers, and Gannett River States publishing filed a motion Thursday asking Reese to reconsider.

Their lawyers argued that the case should be opened because the public's constitutional right to access information outweighs Benson's privacy concerns.

"[What] the court should have looked more closely at is whether it was possible to separate the medical evidence from the rest of the testimony and, I think, to the extent that there will be other testimony about Mr. Benson's to manage the Saints," said media attorney Mary Ellen Roy. "For example, I think that testimony is something that is of interest to the people of New Orleans and should be open to the public."

The case, now closed to the public, continues on Monday.

A separate trial next month will determine whether the 87-year-old Saints and Pelicans owner can pass his sports franchises on to his wife, Gayle, after his death, or if his daughter and grandchildren will control the sports empire.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.