In her four-page ruling Friday, Cox said prosecutors had not met their burden to show that closing the proceedings would outweigh the "value of openness" in the courts. The US Supreme Court has found that court proceedings should be closed only in rare circumstances and only when the government can "narrowly tailor" its request, she noted.
Prosecutors, who had filed the details of their argument under seal, had no comment on Cox's decision, the Tribune said. The government could appeal the ruling. Last week, the Chicago Tribune and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press both sent letters to the judge expressing concern over the closure request.
Khan was arrested Oct 4 at O'Hare International Airport as he tried to board a flight to Vienna with plans to connect to Turkey, the authorities said. A criminal complaint alleged that he planned to meet in Istanbul with a contact who would take him to Islamic State locations in Iraq or Syria. During more than three hours of questioning at the airport, Khan told agents he expected his role with Islamic State to be "some type of public service, a police force, humanitarian work or a combat role", the charges allege.
Khan has been detained since his arrest. Prosecutors have asked Cox to keep him jailed pending trial, saying he poses a danger to the community and a flight risk.