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Court Cases

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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Cablers Break Into Afternoon Programming To Cover ‘Whitey’ Bulger Guilty Verdict

Just after 2 PM, the jury in the “Whitey” Bulger trial in Boston revealed their verdict, and it appears as though the former Massachusetts Mob boss will be spending the remainder of his life behind bars.

Bulger was found guilty on multiple counts of racketeering and conspiracy, as well as number of murders… though not all of the murders he was charged with.

The first of the verdicts was reported at 2:03 PM on MSNBC and FNC, according to TVEyes, with CNN less than 30 second later just after 2:04 PM. CNN also brought in “Legal View” anchor Ashleigh Banfield to discuss the case. Banfield’s new legal-focused show started this morning at 11 AM. Martha MacCallum anchored for FNC, and Thomas Roberts was on MSNBC.

Cable Nets Captivated as Cleveland Kidnapping Victim Speaks at Ariel Castro Sentencing

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years on two counts of aggravated murder this afternoon. The hearing has been followed closely throughout the day by the cable news networks, with Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and HLN all broadcasting the courtroom proceedings continuously from 11am-2pmET.

One of the more dramatic moments in the hearing came in the noon hour, when kidnapping victim Michelle Knight addressed the court. “I spent eleven years in hell, where your hell is just beginning,” she told Castro. “You deserve to spend life in prison.” Watch her statement, via Fox News, below:


With Journalistic Implications, Cable News Covers Bradley Manning Verdict

Shortly after 1 PM, the verdict in the Bradley Manning trial came in from a military court in Ft. Meade, Maryland. Manning was prosecuted by the government for giving Wikileaks thousands of secret documents, including State Department cables. The most serious charge was “aiding the enemy,” which almost certainly would have had implications for all working journalists that cover the U.S. government.

Manning was found “not guilty” of that charge, but guilty on most other charges, including theft and espionage.

The three general cable news channels previewed the impending verdict at the top of the hour, with Fox News reporting the verdict at 1:05, followed by MSNBC at 1:08 and CNN at 1:09. No cameras were allowed in the courtroom, and journalists were unable to report the verdict until they were released from the room.

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