The hearing was first convened on June 8, but it was scrapped part-way through after the court reporter argued that the Review wasn’t allowed to record the meeting, and Johnson expressed concern that the recording might have picked up privileged conversations at the defense table near the first row.

Don Craven, general counsel to the Illinois Press Association and the Review’s legal adviser in such matters, previously indicated that, unless the village adopts an ordinance specifically barring recordings during liquor commission hearings, it had no ground to demand that the recordings be deleted.

During both the July 22 and July 26 hearings, Johnson requested that Hoskins not allow any recordings during the proceedings. During those hearings, the seats were moved the row back, and this reporter sat in the second row. But Johnson insisted during the July 26 hearing that the recording app on the Review’s phone might still pick up privileged conversations.

When the Review asked what would happen if this reporter refused the request, Hoskins said that he would need to sit in the back of the room. The previous hearing was plagued by audio issues due to participants not speaking into microphones. The reporter acquiesced due to concerns that he wouldn’t be able to hear the testimony from that far back. Indeed, during the July 26 hearing, the court reporter, who was sitting further away from the tables than the second row, complained that she couldn’t hear the testimony on multiple occasions.