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Judge seeks more time, delays before ruling on Fox News source issue

April 11, 2013 at 1:22 PM   |   Comments

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DENVER, April 11 (UPI) -- A judge has delayed a ruling on whether a journalist must name a source for a report on James Holmes, accused of killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colo., theater.

District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. heard arguments Wednesday on a motion by Holmes' defense team to require Fox News reporter Jana Winter to disclose the source of her reporting on the contents of Holmes' diary. Winter, a New York investigative journalist, was sent to Aurora in July to cover the massacre in which 12 people were killed and 58 were wounded during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." She reported two law enforcement sources who she did not name had told her the notebook contained drawings of violent images and details of a plot to kill people.

Holmes attorney Rebekka Higgs argued Wednesday the reporter's First Amendment "interests here are not substantial," and Winter should be questioned about her sources because the report on Holmes' notebook "is not something of great value to the public," The Denver Post reported Thursday.

Lawyers for Winter told the newspaper in an interview forcing her to reveal her source for the story would harm journalism and the public's right to know.

Samour said Wednesday he will not decide whether Winter must reveal her sources until he has ruled on whether Holmes' notebook can be admitted as evidence in the trial.

"I need to know more," Samour said. "I need to have an adequate record, and I don't believe I have that right now."

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