DENVER (AP) – Lawyers for a Fox News reporter asked the U.S. Supreme Court not to order her to identify her confidential sources for a story she wrote about Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes.
In a brief made public Monday, attorneys for New York-based reporter Jana Winter said the Supreme Court shouldn’t review a ruling by a New York state court that said Winter cannot be forced to reveal her sources in a Colorado court.
Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 in suburban Denver theater in 2012. Winter, citing unidentified law-enforcement sources, reported that Holmes sent his psychiatrist a notebook containing violent images before the shooting.
Holmes’ lawyers want to know who spoke to Winter, saying they violated a gag order. The attorneys also argue that whoever spoke to Winter might have lied under oath when they denied being her sources, undermining their credibility as potential trial witnesses.
The judge overseeing Holmes’ case in Colorado issued a subpoena that could force Winter to identify the sources or face jail, but the subpoena cannot be enforced without the approval of courts in New York, where she lives and works.
Two lower New York courts agreed to enforce the subpoena, but the state’s highest court ruled that Winter is protected by New York’s reporter shield law.
Holmes’ lawyers asked the U.S. Supreme Court in March to review the New York ruling. The justices have not said if they will.
Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. His trial is scheduled to start in October.
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