DENVER (AP) — Lawyers for the man charged with killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater asked the U.S. Supreme Court to require a Fox News reporter to identify her sources for a story about the defendant.
The attorneys said Monday they asked the justices to review a New York state court ruling that Colorado cannot force New York-based reporter Jana Winter to reveal who told her that Holmes sent his psychiatrist a notebook containing violent images before the July 2012 attack.
Holmes’ lawyers say whoever spoke to Winter violated a gag order and should be punished. They also say that officers might have lied when they denied under oath being Winter’s sources, undermining their credibility as potential trial witnesses.
New York state’s top court ruled in December that Winter did not have to testify in Colorado because she is protected by her home state’s shield law, which says reporters do not have to identify confidential sources.
A Colorado court issued a subpoena for Winter’s testimony, but because she is based in New York, that state’s courts would have to enforce it.
Winter has said she would not identify the sources, even though the Colorado court could sentence her to jail for contempt of court for refusing.
Winter, her attorney and Fox News didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
Holmes’ attorneys said previously they planned to ask the Supreme Court to intervene. The documents were filed last week.
Holmes is accused of shooting into the audience in a suburban Denver movie theater, injuring 70 people and killing 12. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
His trial is scheduled to begin in October. Two previous trial dates have been canceled as attorneys work through complex pretrial legal questions.
The trial judge ruled on a handful of pretrial motions on Monday, rejecting defense motions to allow jurors to see Colorado’s execution chamber and refusing to bar some expert testimony on explosives, blood and DNA.
The judge granted prosecution motions to bar testimony comparing Holmes’ case to other murder cases and testimony about what living conditions are like for prisoners serving life sentences without parole.
The judge also limited some of the arguments Holmes’ attorneys can make in the sentencing phase of his trial if he is found guilty.
BY DAN ELLIOTT, Associated Press
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)