James Holmes Case: Fox News Reporter Pressured to Reveal Sources

6:54 PM PST 04/08/2013 by Sophie Schillaci
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Jana Winter

Judge delays decision on whether Jana Winter must divulge names or head to jail, and whether a key piece of evidence can be used in the trial.

The journalist who revealed details about a notebook that James Holmes allegedly sent to a psychiatrist prior to the July massacre in a Colorado movie theater could face jail time for refusing to reveal her sources.

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Jana Winter of FoxNews.com was subpoenaed by Holmes’ attorneys to testify Wednesday, but Judge Carlos Samour Jr. on Monday delayed a ruling on whether the reporter must, in fact, reveal her sources, CNN reports.

In a March affidavit, Winter showed no sign of revealing the identity of her sources.

“My reputation as a journalist will be irreparably tarnished among my colleagues, and perhaps more importantly, my future sources,” she said.

On July 25, days after the shooting that left 12 dead and dozens more injured, Winter published a report acknowledging the existence of a notebook that was allegedly sent from Holmes to Dr. Lynne Fenton, the University of Colorado psychiatrist who had treated him, and cited a source who said that the notebook contained “drawings and illustrations of the massacre.” An unnamed law official reportedly told Winter that  “the parcel may have sat unopened in a mail room for up to a week before its discovery on Monday, July 23.”

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At the time of publication, a judge issued a gag order that barred officials from speaking with reporters about the case.

Samour said Monday that he will not rule on Winter until it is determined whether the notebook in question is admissible as evidence. (It may not be admissible due to doctor-patient confidentiality.)

But if Winter is ordered to reveal her source, a refusal could place her in contempt of the court and jail.

Holmes is accused of opening fire on a theater full of moviegoers at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20. His trial is scheduled to begin in February 2014, and if convicted, he faces the death penalty. 

When approached for comment, a representative for Fox News referred The Hollywood Reporter to Winter's outside council. FoxNews.com also addressed the situation in a news story posted Monday.

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