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Reporter Jana Winter allowed to keep Colorado shooter sources confidential

By Kyle Johnson,

New York State's Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Fox News reporter Jana Winter does not have to reveal her sources for her story on the 2012 Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting.

A lower court had initially ruled that Winter must divulge her sources relating to a story she wrote about James Holmes. The judge handling the shooting case ordered that a gag be put in place on information from Holmes notebook, reports Reuters.

Before the gag order was put in place, Winter wrote that the notebook, which was mailed to Holmes' psychiatrist was "full of details about how (Holmes) was going to kill people." Winter cited two anonymous law enforcement officials for the information.

Holmes' attorneys worked to get Winter ordered to reveal her sources, but she refused and was willing to go to jail in contempt instead of ending her career as a journalist.

According to Fox News, since the case was applied to New York, which is where Winter resides, she successfully was able to use NY's shield law, which aims to protects journalists.

The decision from the Court of Appeals notes that "... an order from a New York court directing a reporter to appear in another state where, as here, there is a substantial likelihood that she will be compelled to identify sources who have been promised confidentiality would offend our strong public policy."

Roger Ailes, CEO and chairman of Fox News, praised the ruling saying, "Today's ruling is a major win for all journalists. The protection of Jana Winter's confidential sources was necessary for the survival of journalism and democracy as a whole. We are very grateful that the highest court in New York State agreed with our position."

 
 

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