Laura Prather, Ryan Patrick in Houston Chronicle: ‘Gag Order Discussions Dominate Two-Hour Astroworld Civil Court Hearing’

April 05, 2022

The gag order restricting some communications in litigation surrounding the fatal Astroworld festival came front and center Monday as lawyers argued whether the court’s decision should stand.

Concerns over the publicity order — signed last month by 11th District Court Judge Kristen Hawkins — surfaced soon after rapper Travis Scott in early March publicized the debut of Project HEAL, a nonprofit partially aimed at addressing security at large-scale events. The initiative is also expected to fund scholarships at historically Black colleges and mental health treatment in low-income communities of color.


… Hawkins issued the gag order Feb. 15, preventing attorneys on both sides from making “extrajudicial statements,” soon after hundreds of Astroworld cases were consolidated into one filing. In a recent court setting, the civil jurist said attorneys were allowed to discuss the court proceedings and filings in the case.

Lawyers for ABC News — Laura Lee Prather and former U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick — asked Hawkins in the ceremonial courtroom to either clarify the order or vacate it entirely.

“To date, litigants and participants in this proceeding have treated the Order as a complete prohibition against talking to the media — even about the underlying events that transpired that are of grave concern,” stated Prather and Patrick’s letter to the judge.

Hawkins ultimately asked lawyers on both sides to work together to propose changes — if any — to the publicity order. She would make a decision at a later conference, she continued.

Excerpted from the Houston Chronicle. Read more here