Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Holmes' lawyers want high court ruling on sources

Associated Press Published: March 10, 2014

DENVER — Lawyers for the man charged with killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater asked the 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 identity of Winter's sources is not likely to influence the outcome of Holmes' case. But the defense's quest to identify them has dragged on for more than a year and drawn objections from Fox News and journalism organizations, who say it threatens reporters' ability to do their job.

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