Aurora theater shooting judge allows subpoena of Fox News reporter about info "leak"

jana winter twitter 130x130.jpg
Winter on Twitter.
The judge in the James Holmes case will allow Holmes's defense attorneys to subpoena a New York-based Fox News reporter who first reported that the accused Aurora theater shooter sent a notebook "full of details about how he was going to kill people" to a University of Colorado psychiatrist. The reporter, Jana Winter, quoted unnamed law enforcement sources in the story. Holmes's attorneys are trying to learn who "leaked" the information.

A package containing the notebook was discovered in the CU mail room on July 23, three days after Holmes is accused of opening fire at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, killing twelve people and injuring seventy more. The package was addressed to Dr. Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist who had seen Holmes. Witnesses have said it was from Holmes and contained both a notebook and burned money.

At a hearing in December, Holmes's attorneys attempted to find the source of the leak by questioning several law enforcement officers, including University of Colorado police chief Doug Abraham. A few, including Aurora police detective Alton Reed, admitted to leafing through the pages of the notebook but said they didn't linger on any particular page. "I just sort of fanned through the pages with my thumb," Reed said in court.

None of the witnesses said they spoke to the media about the notebook or its contents.

In a motion filed Thursday (and on view below), Holmes's attorneys argue that because they've been unable to find the source any other way, Winter "has become a material and necessary witness in this case and her notes are material and necessary."

Judge William Sylvester agreed. A gag order prohibiting law enforcement officers from sharing information about the case has been in effect since July 23. In a certificate (also on view below), Sylvester wrote that if law enforcement sources did indeed speak to Winter, "then due to the fact that all who had access to the package denied under oath that they spoke to her...perjury in the first degree may be implicated."

Winter "will be required to spend three days in travel and testimony in this case," Sylvester wrote. He added that the defense will pay for her round-trip plane ticket, transportation to and from the airport and room and board in Colorado.

A New York judge will review Sylvester's certificate. That judge must find also find that Winter is a "material and necessary" witness in order to compel her to testify in Colorado.

Sylvester has set aside several days beginning February 4 to debate this matter in court.

Continue to read Holmes's attorneys' motion about Winter, prosecutors' response and the judge's certificate.


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12 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

We didn't receive ANYTHING resembling the truth when the '911 Commission Report' was released .

What makes one think this will be any different ? Accountability is strictly for the poor !

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

He made her show her boobs first ......

vox-populi
vox-populi

good luck with that. This is EXACTLY what reporters don't have to divulge their sources.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@vox-populi ... you really are a legal ignoramus, aren't you?

Do tell, in your deluded mind, what law says reporters don't have to divulge their sources when subpoenaed by the court?

[ cue crickets chirping ]

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@BackOffImStarving @DonkeyHotay @vox-populi

The issue of a reporter's privilege came to the forefront of media attention in the case In re Miller, involving reporters Judith "Dick Cheney's Mouthpiece" Miller and Matthew Cooper.

 Miller and Cooper were both served with grand jury subpoenas for testimony and information, including notes and documents pertaining to conversations with specific and all other official sources relating the Plame affair. Both refused to submit to the subpoenas, claiming a reporter’s privilege. The federal district court held both Miller and Cooper in civil contempt of court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the orders of contempt.


Miller and Cooper, in their appeal to the appellate court pleaded several defenses including a First Amendment reporter’s privilege and a common law reporter’s privilege. The appellate court rejected both the First Amendment and common law claims for privilege. The court held Miller and Cooper in civil contempt of court and sentenced both to eighteen months of jail time. The sentence was stayed pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


However, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Judith Miller began serving the remaining four months of the original eighteen-month sentence on July 6, 2005. Matthew Cooper’s confidential source released him from their confidentiality agreement, so he chose to comply with the subpoena and has agreed to testify before the grand jury

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@vox-populi ... your pathetically false assertion that reporters can't be required to divulge their sources is still an Epic Fail.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@vox-populi ... pathetic retreat from your laughably false assertion that reporters do not have to divulge their sources when subpoenaed by a court of law.

You = Vox Ignorami 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@vox-populi ... then the reporter can rot in jail on contempt charges until they do divulge the source.

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