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Court Cases

Jana Winter: ‘I Hope People Don’t Have to Google’ State Shield Law Before Reporting

Jana Winter with Shepard SmithTVNewser spoke with a relieved Jana Winter this afternoon about the New York court ruling that saved her from jail.

Following the court’s 4-3 ruling, the FoxNews.com reporter is grateful her rights as a journalist—and journalism as a whole—was protected by the court.

“I hope that this will really change the way that reporters work,” Winter said. “I hope that people can go to another state and report on something and promise a source that they will remain confidential, and mean it, and not have to go through what I went through.”

Winter also has a new appreciation for New York Civil Rights Law 79-h, the shield law that protected her from testifying in Colorado.

“If I hadn’t gone through this, I wouldn’t understand how important that is,” Winter said, hoping that in the future “people don’t have to Google specific state shield law” while crossing state lines during their reporting, which she’s gotten into the habit of doing for the last 18 months.

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Fox News Reporter Won’t Have to Testify in Colorado

WinterBreaking: FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter cannot be forced to testify in a Colorado court.

New York State’s highest court has ruled Winter cannot be compelled to testify about her reporting in the case of Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes.

Winter’s story revealed the existence of Holmes’ diary that he reportedly gave to his psychiatrist before he went on his shooting spree.

Winter and her lawyers argued their case before the New York Court of Appeals November 11. The court let a lower court ruling stand, which protected Winter from having to reveal her sources. Had the court ruled the other way, she could have faced jail time for not giving up the information, which she declared she never would.

Developing…

More: From Fox News CEO Roger Ailes: “Today’s ruling is a major win for all journalists. The protection of Jana Winter’s confidential sources was necessary for the survival of journalism and democracy as a whole. We are very grateful that the highest court in New York State agreed with our position.”

Cable Networks Cover George Zimmerman’s Return to Court

George Zimmerman is in a Florida court again this afternoon, facing charges of felony aggravated assault after he allegedly pointed a gun at his girlfriend. The cable networks all took the short court appearance live.

Fox News has Phil Keating outside the courtroom and brought Geraldo Rivera in for analysis after the hearing wrapped. Kerry Sanders reported from Sanford for MSNBC. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer talked with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. And on HLN, which saw a major boost in ratings during Zimmerman’s trial for the death of Trayvon Martin, Susan Hendricks talked with Vinnie Politan and Tiffanie Henry.

Fox News Reporter Jana Winter Back to Court

WinterFoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter will be back in court tomorrow asking New York State’s highest court to quash a subpoena filed by the lawyers for James Holmes, the Colorado man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 50 others at a movie theater last year.

Winter will ask the Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court ruling that says she can be compelled to testify about her sources.

Winter’s story revealed the existence of Holmes’ notebook that he reportedly gave to his psychiatrist before he went on his shooting spree.

The Albany Times-Union’s legal affairs reporter Robert Gavin writes, “The high court’s ultimate decision could have drastic implications not only for Winter, but the rights of the news media to safeguard the identity of its sources. That right is protected in New York state, where the Shield Law protects reporters from revealing their sources regardless of how vital the information could be to an investigation.”

If the Court of Appeals lets the lower court ruling stand, and Winter does not reveal her sources, she could go to jail until she does. Fox News’s Judge Andrew Napolitano went on “Fox & Friends” this morning and talked about the case. “She has said to me she will simply never reveal who her sources are,” said Napolitano.

Missouri Man’s Murder Sentence Vacated Following ’48 Hours’ Reports

MoriarityFergusonA Missouri man who has been in prison for the last 10 years had his murder conviction vacated this morning, due, in part, to aggressive reporting by CBS’s “48 Hours.”

Ryan Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 2001 murder of newspaper sports editor Kent Heitholt. Ferguson’s case was first featured on the CBS News magazine eight years ago. Correspondent Erin Moriarty has updated the story twice since then.

Moriarty reported that hair, fingerprints and bloody footprints found at the scene were not linked to Ferguson. After that report new witnesses came forward and Ferguson got a new attorney — who joined pro bono after seeing his story on CBS.

“I almost know, almost certainly, that if you had not covered the trial a lot of the facts would remain probably hidden,” Ferguson recently told Moriarty. “And I think that was very beneficial to us in having somebody actually look at the reality of this case in a non-biased manner and – and look at both sides equally.”

“Dateline NBC” has also been invested in Ferguson’s story. “Dateline” aired a 2-hour special in August, 2011 and another follow-up report in November, 2012. NBC’s producer is in Missouri now working on the latest.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Accuses Jeffrey Toobin of Bias, Demands Apology

ToobinRFKRobert F. Kennedy stood up for his cousin, Michael Skakel on CNN last night, then faced off with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Toobin was “stunned and amazed” that a Connecticut judge ruled Skakel is eligible for a new trial. Toobin thinks Skakel, convicted in 2002 for the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley, could be out of prison by the end of the week.

The judge ruled that Skakel had an inadequate defense attorney in Mickey Sherman. Before he was sent to prison for tax evasion in 2011, and released in 2012, Sherman was a regular talking head on cable news. Sherman is married to Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl.

As for Kennedy said Toobin, there’s a long history attached to this case. Kennedy said Toobin has been biased against his cousin from the start, then demanded an apology for “besmirching” the name of another Kennedy cousin, Tommy Skakel. WATCH:

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Geraldo On WME Lawsuit: ‘I will die before I give them a single penny’

geraldo-rivera-story-topFox News anchor and correspondent Geraldo Rivera is firing back publicly after a lawsuit that was filed against him by his former talent agency William Morris Endeavour was made public. WME sued Rivera for allegedly not paying his commission.

On his radio show, Rivera stood his ground, as noted by Mediaite.

“Where’s the contract?” Rivera demanded to know, calling the agency a bunch of “B.S.’ers.” He said he’s “furious” with the company, and added, “I will die before I give them a single penny.”

THR, Esq. obtained the lawsuit, and has details:

“Although [Rivera] paid commissions to WME on the Fox News Agreement for a time, the last payment WME received from Defendants was in January 2010,” the complaint stated. “After the Fox News agreement concluded, WME wrote a letter to Defendants demanding payment of the commission balance due. On December 11, 2012, Defendants’ attorney responded stating, among other things, Rivera denies any responsibility for commissions due to WME.”

William Morris Endeavor Sues Geraldo Rivera

geraldo-rivera-story-topFox News anchor and correspondent Geraldo Rivera has been sued by his former talent agency.

TMZ obtained the lawsuit, filed by talent juggernaut William Morris Endeavor, which argues that Rivera stopped paying his commission two years early. The deal in question ran through 2011.

According to the lawsuit … obtained by TMZ … the William Morris Endeavor Agency repped Geraldo for nearly a quarter of a century, guiding him “as he rose from news correspondent to a household name.”

More details, here.

Fox News Reporter Jana Winter Receives Delay In Key Hearing

FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter received something of a reprieve in her ongoing battle with a Colorado court, which has ordered her to testify and reveal who her sources are.

If you aren’t caught up: Winter was ordered to reveal who her source was on a story related to the Colorado movie theater shooting. Winter reported that the alleged shooter sent a notebook with violent imagery to his psychiatrist before the attack.

The Denver Post has more:

Jana Winter, who is based in New York, had been scheduled to return to court Sept. 30 for a hearing. Now, she is scheduled to return on that date only so that her subpoena can again be postponed — this time to Jan. 3.

The hearing could decide whether Winter will be ordered to testify about her sources for a story she wrote about the case.

If Winter is ordered to testify and she refuses, Judge Carlos Samour wrote in granting the delay on Tuesday, there is “the real possibility that Winter may face indefinite jail time in this case as a remedial sanction for her refusal to disclose her confidential sources.”

Trump vs. New York On The Morning Shows

NBC reality show host Donald Trump was back in the news this morning, as the Attorney General of the State of New York filed suit against the mogul claiming that his “Trump University” was a scam.

Pretty much every morning program covered the lawsuit, either in a pre-taped report, or in live interviews with AG Schneiderman or Trump himself.

On the network morning shows, “CBS This Morning” featured a report from Terrell Brown. ABC’s “Good Morning America” featured an interview with Schneiderman in a package, and then had Trump live on the phone to respond. NBC’s “Today” ran a package on the lawsuit, before having Trump on via phone to respond.

WATCH:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

On cable news, “Fox & Friends” had Trump call in for his usual Monday segment, and used it to rail against Schneiderman. MSNBC discussed the lawsuit on “Morning Joe” and talked to Trump, with Richard Lui interviewing Schneiderman live in-studio during the 10 AM hour.

CNN’s “New Day” interviewed Schneiderman live in studio (and billed it as a “live exclusive,” although Schneiderman would appear live on MSNBC and CNBC not long after). “New Day” also had Trump on the phone.

WATCH:
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