A judge on Wednesday denied a motion by Paul Flores's defense attorneys requesting a protective order against Smart family attorney James Murphy.
Flores is charged with the murder of Kristin Smart, a 19-year-old Cal Poly student who disappeared in 1996.
A protective order preventing those involved in the criminal case from speaking about it publicly was issued on April 15, shortly after Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, who is charged as being an accessory after the fact, were arrested.
Murphy represents the Smart family in a civil lawsuit against Paul Flores that has been on hold since a judge ordered a stay in 2003.
While other attorneys, prosecutors, and law enforcement involved in the criminal case have not spoken to the media since the April order, Murphy has continued to do interviews with journalists. The motion by Flores's defense specifically cited an April 22 KSBY News report in which Murphy alleges that Ruben Flores moved the remains of Kristin Smart from his Arroyo Grande property in 2020.
The motion argued that Murphy's statements "serve to taint and/or influence a prospective jury pool" and negatively impact Flores's right to a fair trial.
In a court filing opposing the protective order, Murphy argued that the motion for the protective order violates the stay in the civil case.
In her ruling on Wednesday, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Ginger Garrett said that since there was no motion to lift the stay, the motion was denied.
A preliminary hearing in the criminal case against Paul and Ruben Flores is scheduled to begin on July 20. It's expected to last up to 12 days and will include discovery in the case and testimony from multiple witnesses.