Judge in Colo. shooting orders reporter to appear
CENTENNIAL — The judge handling the case of the Colorado theater shooting suspect is requiring a Fox News reporter to testify about who gave her information that defense attorneys say was subject to a gag order.
A July 25 article by Jana Winter on FoxNews.com cited unnamed law enforcement sources in describing the contents of a notebook James Holmes sent to his psychiatrist. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the July 20 attack in Aurora.
Holmes’ attorneys say the information has jeopardized Holmes’ right to a fair trial, and Winter’s notes are needed to determine who leaked it.
Judge William Sylvester said Friday he is requiring Winter to testify in Colorado in the case. He said Holmes’ attorneys will pay for her travel from New York.
A Fox News spokeswoman didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Two days before the Fox News article was published, Sylvester had issued a gag order affecting parties in the case and law enforcement so as not to prejudice the criminal proceedings against Holmes.
“The potential violation of this Court’s orders is a serious issue,” Sylvester wrote.
Holmes’ attorneys said law enforcement sources who had contact with the notebook have denied sharing information with the media.
Sylvester wrote that if it’s true that the information in Winter’s article came from law enforcement, someone may have committed perjury.
Holmes had sent a package containing the notebook and burnt paper money to his psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, shortly before the shooting, according to previous testimony. Authorities haven’t described the notebook’s contents. Winter’s article said it contained details about how he was going to kill people.
In December, Aurora police Detective Alton Reed testified that he thumbed through the notebook to see if any burnt currency remained inside but didn’t stop to look at any of the pages and wasn’t able to make out any writing.
Authorities said they learned of the notebook only after Holmes’ attorneys contacted Fenton and asked for it back. The package was then found, undelivered, in the university mail room.