DENVER Jan 31 A Fox News journalist ordered to
testify about confidential sources used in a story about the
Colorado theater shooting will fight the ruling, court papers
showed on Thursday.
Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester asked that
New York-based journalist Jana Winter testify about a story on a
notebook linked to accused gunman James Holmes, which went out
days after a court-imposed gag order went into effect.
Holmes, a 25-year-old former neuroscience doctoral student
at the University of Colorado, is accused of killing 12 people
and wounding 58 others at the July screening of a Batman movie
in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
The massacre ranks as one of the worst cases of U.S. gun
violence in recent years.
The Fox News story, citing two unidentified law enforcement
sources, gave details on the contents of a notebook that
purportedly contained plans for mass murder that Holmes sent to
university psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.
Holmes' attorneys argue the story could prejudice potential
jurors against their client. Their request to have Winter
testify represents a rare attempt to force a journalist to
reveal anonymous sources when it is suspected that an official
has illegally shared information.
Winter's lawyer, Dori Ann Hanswirth, said in a letter dated
on Tuesday that she planned to aggressively fight attempts to
force her client to testify. The letter was released by the
court on Thursday.
Winter will "assert all legal redress available to her,"
Hanswirth wrote, including objecting to proceedings brought in
New York or Colorado to compel her to testify and invoking legal
provisions to shield journalists from such requirements.
More than a dozen law enforcement officers who saw the
package containing the notebook in a university mail room have
denied under oath they were a source for the Fox News story.
Prosecutors have said the attempt to obtain Winter's
testimony could delay the trial.
Judge Sylvester set an April 1 court hearing to discuss the
attempt by Holmes' attorneys to have Winter testify in the case.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis;
Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Doina Chiacu)