Anne Bremner: ‘I don’t think Bryan Kohberger can get a fair trial’

May 23, 2023, 5:33 PM | Updated: 6:51 pm

Bryan Kohberger...

Bryan Kohberger is charged in the murders of four Idaho college students. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

The trial of Bryan Kohberger, the alleged suspect in the murders of four Idaho college students, is moving forward after the judge entered pleas during Kohberger’s arraignment Monday.

Nationally-renowned prosecuting attorney Anne Bremner told KTTH’s Jason Rantz because of all the pre-trial publicity, she doesn’t think Kohberger can get a fair trial.

“No, I don’t think he can,” Bremner said. “I just defended Sheriff Ed Troyer.”

A jury acquitted Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer last December on misdemeanor false-reporting charges related to his confrontation last year with a Black newspaper carrier.

“That case had so much publicity. It was really hard to get a fair trial. Luckily, we had a great jury and a great judge, and he was acquitted as he should have been, but it’s so difficult to get a fair trial.”

Judge enters not guilty pleas for Kohberger in stabbing deaths of 4 University of Idaho students

As far as the Kohberger case is concerned, Bremner said, “All the judge can do is what they do. They can issue a gag order. They can make sure the time is taken to pick an untainted jury. Take the time to pick a jury, like we did in the Troyer case. You need to find some folks that can really judge the evidence based on what they hear in a courtroom and nothing else.”

Bremner is a trial attorney and a national legal analyst. She was a Prosecuting Attorney for the Criminal Division of the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle from 1983 to 1988.

How unusual was it that Kohberger did not enter his own pleas?

Rantz asked her how unusual it was for Kohberger not to enter his own pleas at his hearing.

“The judge entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ for him. That’s what usually happens if somebody waives reading of the indictment or information and asks the court to enter a plea,” Bremner said. “You don’t see it very often. I think he was just trying to make some kind of a statement of being defiant, but also in control and making news. He’s been watching all of his own coverage. I understand. He’s very obsessed with himself and his coverage in this terrible, terrible crime.”

Rantz wondered about one theory that legal commentator and journalist Nancy Grace posted last night. Grace made a point that there is a witness in this case or someone who was in the house who heard Kohlberger allegedly speak. Rantz asked, “Is it possible the reason why he’s not speaking is he doesn’t want to make it easier for his voice to be recognized as the voice in the home?”

“I think that’s a good point,” Bremner said. “However, he did speak when the judge asked if he understood the charges, but with the four murder counts. So he did speak. He said ‘yes,’ on at least four occasions. And that might be enough for voice identification.”

Bremner said she would “be really sweating” if she were the defense attorney in the case.

“This is a terrible case. I mean, they’ve got all kinds of evidence we heard from the get-go, and those search warrant affidavits and statements. And they don’t have the insanity defense in Idaho, it’s been abolished. He’s facing the death penalty, and he qualifies. And it’s death by firing squad, potentially in Idaho,  so they’re not going to plea bargain for the death penalty.”

Is it harder to get a fair trial in the internet age?

Bremner has a new book out called “Justice in the Age of Judgment: From Amanda Knox to Kyle Rittenhouse and the Battle for Due Process in the Digital Age.” She covers Knox, Rittenhouse, and O.J. Simpson. Rantz explained that the basic point of the book is that because of the media and public scrutiny of some of these higher-profile cases, it is more difficult for a defendant to get a fair trial.

Amanda Knox was tried, convicted, and later acquitted for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, who died from knife wounds in the apartment she shared with Knox in 2007.

“Amanda Knox, that was the first international internet case, and everything shifted in her case,” Bremner said. “There was no evidence in that case whatsoever against her. She stayed in prison for four years. That case went on and off and on for almost a decade. And I saw it firsthand. That’s exactly the kind of problem we have these days, because the court system, is just not catching up with what we see on the internet, social media, and media. And you got to really work hard as a defense lawyer to counter them.”

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Anne Bremner: ‘I don’t think Bryan Kohberger can get a fair trial’