UPDATE (AP) -- A hearing on whether a reporter should be ordered to testify about how she obtained confidential information in the Colorado theater shooting case is being continued until next week.
New York-based Fox News reporter Jana Winter cited anonymous law enforcement officials in reporting that suspect James Holmes had sent a psychiatrist a notebook of drawings that foreshadowed the July 20 attack.
Prosecutors and Holmes' lawyers argued about the issue in court Monday, but the defense wants to again question a detective about whether he might have told someone else about the notebook, who may have then talked to Winter.
The judge agreed and scheduled another hearing for April 10. He raised the possibility that Winter's source was from outside Colorado, and not subject to the case's gag order.
Original story below.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (TheBlaze/AP) -- Attorneys are arguing about whether a New York-based reporter should be ordered to testify about how she obtained confidential information in the Colorado theater shooting case.
Fox News reporter Jana Winter cited anonymous law enforcement officials in reporting that suspect James Holmes had sent a psychiatrist a notebook of drawings that foreshadowed the July 20 attack.
Fox news reporter Jana Winter arrives at district court in Centennial, Colo., on Monday, April 1, 2013, where she was subpoenaed to testify about who gave her confidential information about a notebook James Holmes sent to his psychiatrist days before he allegedly opened fire on a crowded movie theater last July, killing 12 people. Credit: AP
Lawyers for Holmes want to know who told Winter about the notebook, arguing that person violated a gag order.
But Winter's lawyer contends the defense did not exhaustively question all officials who could have been the source of the leak. The judge in the case also raised the possibility that Winter's source was from outside Colorado, and not subject to the gag order.
The case is being monitored by First Amendment watchdogs and journalism advocates, who said Sylvester is sending an ominous message to the media – as well as the public – in asking Winter to reveal her sources.
“This is the classic reason to have shield laws,” said Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, based in Washington, D.C. “There must be protection for journalists to be free to report what they know, because that is how the public takes measure independently of how the courts operate.”
Sylvester issued a gag order to law enforcement authorities in the days following the July 20 attack, in which Holmes allegedly killed 12 and injured 70. Holmes’ attorneys claim Winter’s story, published on July 25 and picked up by media outlets around the world, has jeopardized his right to a fair trial.
Requiring the testimony of a reporter to learn who violated a gag order is rare – and almost never warranted - argued Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Arlington, Va.,-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Winter and her attorney did not comment to reporters during a break.