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Aurora theater shooting judge to hear oral arguments about Fox News reporter subpoena

jana winter fox 205x205.jpeg
Jana Winter.
The judge in the Aurora theater shooting case has agreed to hear oral arguments on Monday about whether Fox News reporter Jana Winter should have to testify about her unnamed sources. But he is requiring Winter to travel to Colorado, despite the fact that her attorneys requested she not have to do so.

Attorneys for suspect James Holmes subpoenaed Winter to testify about who told her that a notebook Holmes sent to a psychiatrist contained "details about how he was going to kill people."

Winter's story about the notebook was published on July 25, five days after Holmes is accused of opening fire at a midnight movie, killing twelve people and injuring seventy more. In it, the New York-based reporter said her information came from two unnamed law enforcement sources.

Holmes's attorneys want to know who violated a gag order in the case and "leaked" that information to Winter. At a hearing in December, they attempted to find the sources by questioning several law enforcement officers who had access to the notebook, which was discovered in the mailroom at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, where Holmes was a student.

The package was addressed to Dr. Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist who had seen Holmes. Witnesses have said it contained both a notebook and burned money. A few officers 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," Aurora police detective Alton Reed testified in December. Neither he nor any of the other officers said they spoke to the media about the notebook or its contents.

Winter was subpoenaed to appear in court on Monday. Though her attorneys fought to postpone the court date, Judge William Sylvester ruled that the hearing will take place as scheduled. Now, however, he's said he's willing to hear oral arguments about whether Winter should have to testify. Her lawyers say she should not "because the testimony and documents sought in the subpoena concern confidential newsgathering information that is privileged from disclosure under the Colorado Shield Law." Winter also filed a lengthy affidavit in support of quashing the subpoena.

Read Winter's request to quash the subpoena and the judge's order below.

Motion for Protective Order and to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum and Ad Testificandum

Order Re Request for Oral Argument Regarding Motion to Quash Subpoena

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "James Holmes's court filing about guilty-plea offer a publicity ploy, prosecution says."


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com



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4 comments
melekalikimaka
melekalikimaka

This isn't a 1st amendment challenge. This is a reporter leaking info that helps no one, just gets her clicks on the internet story. Being from Faux "News" I very much doubt a "noble cause" in her defense. Faux "News" is just a dirty laundry factory with no substance to assist the public. She very well could screw up the case and help the guy walk. Then she'd have a really good story how reporter saves mass killer from terrible future.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

In other Legal News -- the INJUSTICE against Ward Churchill continues !!

-- Supreme Court refuses to hear Ward Churchill's appeal --

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning rejected an appeal from former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill in his effort to reclaim his job.

Churchill faced condemnation and calls for his dismissal over an essay describing some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi leader who helped orchestrate the Holocaust.

The university investigated whether the piece was protected under the First Amendment and found that it was.

But while the investigation was under way, other academics accused Churchill of plagiarism and fraud in scholarly writings, which led to his termination in 2007. 

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