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Judge who ordered newspaper man to court for exposing trans shooter's manifesto didn't want to hear his defense
Photo by Johnnie Izquierdo for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Judge who ordered newspaper man to court for exposing trans shooter's manifesto didn't want to hear his defense

Blaze News investigative reporter Steve Baker suggested the Democratic judge 'was covering her ass.'

Michael Patrick Leahy, the CEO of Star News Digital Media and the editor of the Tennessee Star, drew the ire of a low-level Democratic judge for publishing documents the FBI wanted suppressed or possibly even destroyed: the suicide note and deranged writings of the radical transvestite who murdered three children and three adults last year in a Nashville Christian school.

After Stacy Cameron, a reporter for a local Fox News affiliate, effectively snitched on the Tennessee Star for doing what mainstream media outlets refused to do, Judge l'Ashea Myles of the Tennessee 20th Judicial District Chancery Court ordered Leahy to court for a show cause hearing.

The stated aim of the hearing was "to determine why the alleged publication of certain purported documents by Petitioners Star Digital Media and Michael Leahy, as the Editor-in-Chief, does not violate the Orders of this Court subjecting them to contempt proceedings and sanctions."

The suggestion was that by allegedly publishing writings under the judge's in-camera review, Leahy and the Tennessee Star's parent company may have interfered with their lawsuit seeking the full release of the trans killer's writing by the Metro Nashville Police Department.

According to Blaze News investigative reporter Steve Baker, who was in the courtroom Monday, it quickly became clear that Myles "wished she had not called the hearing."

"It seemed like she was trying to get out of it," said Baker. "She initiated something that was over her head, over her pay grade — something that was out of bounds with the law."

While the hearing was supposed to be centered on Leahy, neither he nor his counsel Daniel Horwitz were able to get out more than a few words. Instead, Myles appeared keen on leaning on the other parties present to express their grievances and concerns, effectively filibustering her own proceeding by proxy.

"The judge allowed everybody else to speak except for the one guy the hearing was called for," said Baker. "Michael Leahy's attorney — every time he got up, which was twice, she interrupted him and cut him off mid-stream. She told him that she was not going to hear any arguments today in regards to the case."

"She actually said these words: 'Your arguments are not yet ripe,'" continued Baker.

The Star indicated that Myles reimagined the purpose of the hearing to get a feeling for the "landscape" of the situation.

While Baker will detail some of the more absurd and shocking aspects of the hearing in a forthcoming piece for Blaze News, he has nevertheless made clear it was a gong show.

"What in the hell did I just witness?" Baker said Monday on "The Michael Patrick Leahy Show." "As soon as the court adjourned ... I went, 'What the you-know-what?'"

"She wanted to understand everybody's position. She reiterated over and over again that she wasn't the investigator: 'I'm just the judge. I'm not the prosecutor. I'm just the judge and I'm just here to get understanding.’ And she did wrap it up at the end and said, 'Okay, now I understand.' When court was adjourned ... I said, 'Does she understand what an airhead she is?'" said Baker.

Baker suggested to Blaze News that Myles likely realized in the days leading up to the show cause hearing "she had made a mistake" and didn't want the matter to end up going to an appeals court.

"She set the wheels in motion, then realized, 'I blew it here. I should not have done this,'" continued Baker. "She was covering her ass."

On his show Monday, Leahy reflected on the outcome of the show cause hearing, saying, "She didn't allow me to show cause nor did she allow my lawyer to show cause why I shouldn't be held in contempt. She changed the purpose of the meeting."

While none of the attorneys who spoke at the hearing Monday reportedly argued that Leahy broke the law, the newspaper man indicated she may still assign a special prosecutor to go after him for publishing the shooter's journal.

"So let me give you the bottom line on all this. I thought there'd be two outcomes or possibilities. Either [Myles] was going to set up a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute us, or she was going to take it under advisement and then issue an order later," said Leahy. "So that's what she did. She said, 'I'm going to take all of this under advisement and I'll issue an order.' She didn't say when. If that order is to set up a special prosecutor, I will still be in legal jeopardy. That's my take on it."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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